President William Ruto criticized the opposition for urging their supporters not to repay the Hustler Fund loans.
Speaking at Nyayo Stadium during Jamhuri Day celebrations on Monday, December 12, 2022, Ruto noted that a record 15 million Kenyans had taken loans from the Hustler Fund in just 12 days.
"In a record 12 days, today the hustler fund 15.4 subscribers. In just 12 days, the Hustler Fund has lent Ksh7.54 billion to the 15 million Kenyans that are on that space. And let me also say that the Hustler Fund has accumulated savings of close to Ksh400 million in just 12 days. Well on track to a billion shilling in the next few days. It confirms the power of technology. Without committees, without secretariat that is what the Hustler Fund has achieved," Ruto said.
The president further revealed that Ksh1.2 billion had already been repaid.
"Ksh1.2 billion shillings has already been repaid by Kenyans who borrowed on this platform," he added.
Why derail hustlers?
Ruto castigated the opposition for asking Kenyans to default Hustler Fund. He noted that the move would leave many people at the mercy of predatory lenders who charge high interest rates.
"And it is clear that two things have come around because of what you have seen on the Husker Fund. Number one it has provided a platform for millions of Kenyans who have been looking for an opportunity to save. And number two, the Kenyans borrowing on this platform they have not been derailed by the rhetoric of those who are against the Hustler Fund. Let me say for the record, you have the capacity to borrow from your bad at 14 per cent. Why do you want to derail the hustlers who today are suffering from shylocks and from predatory lenders and they are being charged 360 per cent? Ruto said.
"And you are telling them not to pay money given to them at eight per cent so that they can go back and pay at 360 per cent. Be humaine, be kind, please allow the people borrowing on the Hustler Fund to also enjoy low interest rates the way you and your families are enjoying," he added.
Money belongs to Kenyans
A section of members of the Azimio la Umoja one Kenya Coalition has been urging their supporters not to repay their Hustler Fund loans.
During the first ‘consultative meeting’ on December 7, 2022, Azimio Parliamentarians claimed the money belongs to Kenyans.
While urging Azimio supporters to default on their debts, Kasipul Member of Parliament (MP) Ongondo Were admitted that he took a loan from the Hustler Fund and did not intend to repay it.
“The government money you have borrowed, even me I have borrowed we are not paying it back,” he said.
“All those who have received the Hustler Fund money continue using it because it is your tax," Suna West MP Peter Masara added.
The legislators said it is only fair that the money given is used to buy basic commodities whose rising prices the government has failed to tame.
“These people are disrespectful that is why we are saying we are not repaying that Ksh500 of Hustler Fund. They already owe us for unga, fuel, and sugar,” Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang said.
The legislators’ call not to repay the fund was met with jubilation from the crowd on the ground.
The gathering brought together Azimio principals Raila Odinga, Martha Karua, and Kalonzo Musyoka alongside the coalition legislators and other leaders.