19 February 2014

Kenya: Senate Approves Uwezo Fund Rules

MPs yesterday cleared the way for the rolling out of the Sh 6 billion Uwezo fund launched by President Kenyatta last September.

The National Assembly endorsed the final amendments to the rules that will govern the management of the fund. The rules, contained in the Public Finance Management (Uwezo Fund) Regulations, 2013 will now be handed to the President for his signature before the release of the funds commences.

The rules were first considered by the National Assembly last November before being forwarded to the Senate for further scrutiny. Yesterday, the National Assembly approved all amendments proposed by the Senate.

The changes made by both Senate and National Assembly will see the kitty operate like a revolving fund with a resemblance of the National Women Empowerment and National Youth Enterprise Funds.

Three per cent of the money would be spent on administration costs and Sh480 million in capacity building while 70 per cent of the balance would be shared equally among the 290 constituencies. 25 per cent would be shared based on the poverty index.

During the debate yesterday Suba MP John Badi complained that the Sh 480 million for capacity building may end up being misused. Nominated MP Johnson Sakaja said money for capacity building is meant to ensure young people have the right skills in entrepreneurship.

"We must build those skills for the young people to ensure they have the right skills for entrepreneurship including book keeping," he said.

Thika town MP Alice Ng'ang'a said the release of the fund was long overdue. She noted clearance of the rules by the National Assembly will give way for its release.

Uwezo Fund was launched by President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto on September 8 in fulfillment of the Jubilee Coalition's pledge to propel the youth and women to the centre of national prosperity.

The plan is to have groups of young people and women access funds ranging between Sh50, 000 and Sh500, 000 to finance their business ventures.

The cash was originally meant for a presidential-run off, which did not take place. During the campaigns, the Jubilee team promised Kenyans that it will ensure the cash goes to boost the youth and women if the country is saved from a runoff.

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