The Hustler Fund's Ksh50 billion kitty is finally here after months of waiting.
Speaking at the launch of the Fund at Green Park in Nairobi on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, CEOs of the three main telecommunication companies in the country said Kenyans will be required to dial USSD code *254# to access the loan after its official launch by President William Ruto.
The service will also be accessible through mobile application platforms of any of the telcos including Safaricom, Airtel and Telekom.
To register, users will be prompted to enter their ID number before receiving a confirmation message.
Kenyans will, for now, be able to access a personal loan of between Ksh500 to Ksh50,000 at an annual interest of 8.0 per cent.
President Ruto, who presided over the launch, said in February 2023 the government will launch the second product dubbed micro-loan which will allow individuals to borrow from Ksh50,000 to Ksh500,000.
Those in groups will be eligible for a loan limit of Ksh10 million.
In April, the government will launch another product targeted at Saccos regulated by the Sacco Regulatory Authority (SASRA). The product will allow Saccos to borrow from Ksh10 million up to Ksh100 million.
"Every 60 days we will launch a product to empower Kenyans to do business," Ruto said further pledging the Kenya Kwanza administration's commitment to safeguarding traders against shylocks charging unreasonably high-interest rates.
The President said loan defaulters will not be listed on CRB, as they will have another chance of reborrowing.
"The defaulter can repay the loan at once or in instalments and begin borrowing again after full repayment," Ruto said.
Ruto had in his campaigns promised a new economic order that would address unemployment and lack of opportunities for youth, pledging to pump billions of shillings in support of sectors such as the boda bodas and small retailers.
Early this month, the government cautioned Kenyans to be wary of communication inviting people to register for the Hustler Fund on websites and mobile phones.
Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said members of the public should disregard all forms of communications, as transactions will be done on a mobile phone.
“There will be no intermediaries for the personal finance product. It will just be the hustler and his or her phone. No registration is required, borrowers will only be required to dial a code,” said Chelugui.
The CS at the same time dismissed media reports claiming that loan defaulters will be fined up to Ksh10 million.
He clarified that penalties outlined in the regulations published by the National Treasury only target fund officials who may embezzle or misappropriate the funds.