President William Ruto lashes out at Opposition on attempts to derail Hustler Fund project

Ruto Jamhuri Day

President William Ruto during Jamhuri Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium on December 12, 2022. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto has lashed out at the opposition over attempts to derail the government’s Hustler Fund programme.

Addressing the 59th Jamhuri Day celebrations at the Nyayo National Stadium on Monday, the Head of State said the Fund is a relief for many Kenyans who have suffered huge interests from shylocks.

“If there was any doubt in anybody’s mind about the power of technology, just look at what has happened to the Hustler Fund. In a record 12 days, today, the Hustler Fund has a record 15.4 million subscribers and has lent Sh7.54 billion to the 15 million Kenyans on that space,” the President said.

The Hustler Fund, he noted, has accumulated savings of close to Sh400 million in 12 days “well on track to a billion shillings in the next few days. It confirms the power of technology. Without committees, without secretariat, that’s what the Hustler Fund has achieved.”

He lauded millions of Kenyans who have borrowed on the platform, noting that today, Sh 1.2 billion has already been repaid.

“It has provided platform for millions of Kenyans who have been looking for opportunities to save,” said the Head of State.

He said he was glad that Kenyans borrowing the fund had not been derailed by what he termed as “the rhetoric of those who are against the hustler fund.”

“Let me say for the record and ask fellow leaders; my good friends, you are borrowing your mortgage at 3 percent. You have the capacity to borrow from bank at 14 percent, why do you want to derail the hustlers who today are suffering from shylocks and predatory lenders and being charged 360 percent?” he posed.

He said it was wrong by some leaders to tell Kenyans not to repay the Hustler Fund which he said is given to them at only 8 percent.

“Be humane, be kind and please allow the people borrowing the hustler fund to also enjoy low interest rates the way you and your families are enjoying,” the president charged.

He went on: “Do not derail those Kenyans who have suffered for long from now accessing money on a digital platform that is of interest that is reasonable.”

Not to repay

The President was speaking in an apparent reference to opposition – Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition which has urged Kenyans to borrow the money and not to repay, insisting that during the campaigns, the President promised that it would not attract any interests.

During a rally at Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi last Week, Azimio leader Raila Odinga led other opposition leaders in mobilising Kenyans not to repay the loan.

“Kenyans are living in a country badly hit by high cost of living. Our youth have already lost the opportunity on Kazi Mtaani program while the government has already eliminated subsidy on basic commodities.”

“Giving Sh500 through the Hustler Fund program and asking them to repay is not tenable. Take that money and do not repay because it is your tax,” Mr Odinga said.