Youth encouraged to go for government loans

The Youths in Narok County have been urged to take advantage of Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) loans to start or expand their businesses.

Speaking on Wednesday at a youth sensitization workshop, the Funds’ South Rift Regional Coordinator, Evelyn Chemutai said the government has increased the variety of financial products to be lent out to youth-run enterprises.

We are currently offering group loans, personal and SME business expansion loans to youth groups with members aged between 11 and 35 years who have met the requirements spelt out under the loan terms, said Chemutai.

The function that was held at Kilgoris area in Trans Mara West Sub County brought hundreds of youths together who were urged to identify viable business opportunities into which to channel the borrowed money to ensure they do not default.

She advised interested individuals to tie up in groups and get registered to access the funds.

The coordinator acknowledged the government’s effort to ease access to credit, create jobs and reduce unemployment, adding that personal loans interest has reduced to six percent in the new financial year.

In the financial year 2017/2018, personal loans will carry an interest of six percent, down from eight percent previously, while the group loan does not carry any charges except for a management fee of five percent, Chemutai said.

She encouraged youths to use the funds to explore their own innovations like artwork, greenhouse farming, brick making and also bid for government tenders.

The maximum amount of loans to be lent out is Sh. 1 million but borrowers must start with the small loans before they can borrow larger amounts, she clarified.

A group applying for the first time is given a loan of Sh.50, 000, which is repayable in one year after a three months’ grace period.

The loan given is then scaled up to Sh.100, 000 and over depending on the number of times the group is applying and how successful they have been in repaying the earlier loan.

One of the beneficiaries of the initiative, Violet Kwamboka lauded the government kitty saying the money has helped her purchase goats whose milks she sells to neighbors.

I joined a group of 11 in the year 2015 where we were given Sh.50, 000. After successfully paying the loan, we were given another Sh.100, 000 in the second phase. We have now applied for Sh.200, 000, she said.

According to the Ministry of Public Service, Gender and Youth Affairs, unemployment among the youth in the country currently stands at 61 percent.

A flagship project under Kenya’s Vision 2030, the Youth Fund was started in 2006 to address youth unemployment by offering business capital to the youth, who make up 37 percent of the country’s population.

Chemutai said the reduction of the interest rate in the new financial year is expected to boost uptake of the loans.

Between 2008 and 2011, Sh.6.5 billion was disbursed to over 200, 000 youth groups in the country according to government records.

Source: Kenya News Agency