Ruto finally understands one thing. He has to dance around the promises he made because he cannot fulfill them. The bottoms-up talk is deader than dead. A token Hustlers Fund set up by the Ruto government is a practical joke. How the heck are you going to invest Shs 500?
Even if you want to produce one dish of kachumbari to sell that is not enough. If you want to invest in buying and selling bananas how many are you going to buy and then rent a store and sell them? So you buy a soda and drink it. How do you pay back the money? Maybe give the lender the empty soda bottle.
My 22-year-old niece does business at home. Her mother, one of my sisters, runs her own clothing business so she set up up M-Pesa shop for her daughter in her shopping unit so she can work there when she is not in school.
The other day she told me she needs a laptop for school and her business. The laptop is Shs. 38,000. To set up an M-Pesa shop you need more than Shs. 100,000. Then you need security otherwise you get robbed every day. This is just a simple M-Pesa business.
If you want to do farming it is even tougher. I set up a ploughing business in my home area. To get a used ploughing tractor you need about Shs. 4 million. We do about Shs. 4,000 per acre for the farmers. If you have 5 acres that is Shs. 20,000 before you buy the seeds, fertilizer, and all other needs including water systems for your farm.
Then there are a whole bunch of additional costs. If you need a trailer to help with moving things for construction to make a little extra money, that is another Shs. 2 million. A water tank to get water to the farmers is Shs. 2 million. Simply put, there is not much business you can do in Kenya with Shs. 50,000.
Ruto knows it very well, so he is just playing games to look busy. He knows that Hustler thing is dead. The minimum they would have provided for investment is Shs. 1 million per person. This other stuff is nonsense. Where is the Shs. 50 billion Ruto was talking about? This is peanuts.
MPs want to give Kenyans a maximum of Shs. 50,000 to invest in manufacturing, food processing, Mitumba, and all that. It is a joke and they know it because they use Shs. 50,000 just for their breakfast in one day at Weston Hotel. Right now, MPs are fighting and threatening to break the law to get back their Shs. 133 million a year for each MP for pocket money called the CDF.
They are saying The Treasury will be issuing Shs. 2 billion every week to them, illegally, since the CDF was outlawed by the Supreme Court in August 2022. Now that is money and guess what, it is not for development or for the citizens.
It is for the big boys and girls from all parties to feast on. And they want to give Kenyans petty change to invest and develop the economy. Why can’t the MPs take the Shs. 500 and 50, 000 themselves and give the citizens billions in CDF to invest in the economic development of the country?
If Ruto was smart he could have transformed the CDF into Hustlers Fund and set a system where Kenyans would use the money with zero interest because it is already in the budget and MPs just use it for themselves – pretending to paint schools here and there. But Ruto cannot do that because his own thieves would kill him if he ever tried to move the CDF money to actually help Kenyans.
It would be very effective to hand over the CDF money to Kenyans and it is a lot of money already.
In fact, using the CDF model Ruto could put the same amount of Shs. 133 million for every constituency available in each constituency and have the constituents apply for it and invest. And when they pay back that loan with zero interest and the government keeps allocating CDF as they do now, the amount available for every constituency would double with the payments and in a matter of years.
Every constituency would have more than Shs.1 billion available for development and multiplying every year. Imagine what that could achieve. But you have to think to set up stuff like. Otherwise, yap yap can’t do it.
If MPs and the Ruto government were not so greedy themselves, they would be working now to transform the CDF into a National Investment Fund (NIF) that is managed by competent agencies in every constituency to provide development loans to Kenyans all across the country. That would be a slum dunk for Kenyans and they would love it.
It could actually transform the country in a big way. It would be very easy to allocate the funds and the national government would meet the requirements of the court ruling by managing the money with the banks and other financial institutions in each constituency. Equity Bank alone can run that whole management with a minimal interest rate of .05% for their management costs. There would be no room for theft of money.
The Supreme Court gave Kenyans that gift by taking the CDF out of the hands of MPs. But Ruto is going to find ways to give it back to them while giving a Shs. 500 loan to Kenyans for business Start -Up.
But here are the details of the fake Hustler’s Fund. The first phase rollout of the Hustler Funds programme is expected to be launched on November 30.
The Fund is expected to provide affordable credit facilities and boost a savings culture while creating momentum for sustainable development.
It has four products including Personal Finance, Micro Loans, SME Loans, and Start Up.
The approval came during the second cabinet meeting on Tuesday, which was chaired by President William Ruto.
Loan limits will be a minimum of Sh500 up to a maximum that will be determined by the borrower’s credit score and capped at Sh50,000.
It will target 250,000 youth entrepreneurs across the country, between ages 18 and 35 years.
Additionally, 100,000 youth entrepreneurs are expected to access in-depth screening services including coaching, mentoring and career guidance.
It is also expected to create over 50,000 direct and indirect jobs by expanding manufacturing output and improving the overall country’s competitiveness.
Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada