Youth, women and disabled people in Kilifi County will now get business loans after Governor Amason Kingi officially launched a Sh30 million microfinance fund.
The governor said on Thursday that the aim of the kitty, also known as Mbegu Fund, is to empower those operating small and medium sized enterprises who are registered with the county government.
Speaking during the launch at his office, Mr Kingi said the kitty will offer interest-free loans to help beneficiaries start and manage their own businesses.
The launch was also attended by Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, county executive committee members and MCAs.
"My dream is to enable residents to become self-reliant and economically empowered [as we move] towards the achievement of the Big Four agenda which includes manufacturing, food security, affordable housing as well as universal healthcare," Governor Kingi said.
In addition, Mr Kingi said the Mbegu Fund offers agribusiness loans, business loans, LPO financing and asset financing to the youth, women and groups of disabled people.
"The groups will be [given] funds according to merit and business ideas but not nepotism," he said adding, "We shall involve the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in the project to curb corruption and encourage transparency."
The governor said the EACC will assist to monitor the project to avoid a repeat of the Sh350 million bursary funds disbursed to the 35 wards which was marred with a lot of controversies.
"The fund adds to Youth Fund and Uwezo among others which are good ideas. Sometimes people might wonder why they haven't brought change but the solution lies with implementation," he said.
On his part, the Trade and Tourism CEC Nahida Mohamed said Governor Kingi came up with the idea to introduce Mbegu Fund in 2013.
"The bill was drafted in 2015and taken to the county assembly where it was passed in 2016, but it faced challenges and it had to be amended," she said.