Arid regions on the spot over low women’s fund repayment

Auditor general Edward Ouko. /FILE
Auditor general Edward Ouko. /FILE

The Auditor General has put arid and semi-arid constituencies on notice over the low repayment of loans advanced under the Women’s Enterprise Fund programme.

A performance audit report says as at November 2016, the fund had disbursed Sh7.4 billion to beneficiaries in 290 constituencies. Sh5.3 billion had been repaid, while Sh832 million was outstanding.

The report was released last week. The auditor general has flagged Kacheliba, Garsen, Fafi, Banisa, Lafey, Mandera East, Mandera West, Eldas and Wajir North as constituencies experiencing problems with repayment.

Edward Ouko has placed 21 constituencies at an 81 per cent risk of not repaying their loans, while nine were placed at 100 per cent risk.

“The effect of having a high-risk rate of not repaying the loan is that some of these constituencies have been suspended from receiving loans,” he said.

The rate at which most constituencies repaid their loans was, however, higher compared to their risk of not repaying.

Mukurweini, Mvita, North Imenti, Kisumu Central, Nakuru Town West and Lukuyani are among those with the highest repayment rates.

Other constituencies with low repayment rate are Samburu East, Malindi, Isiolo South, Kikuyu, Ijara, Kuria West and Kwanza.

The report blames lack of monitoring for the low repayment rates.

“The effect of lack of monitoring and evaluation is that no follow-up had been made to determine the impact of the loan, training and business support needs and any challenges the women experience in loan repayment,” it says.

Ouko forwarded the report to Parliament to be tabled in line with Article 229(7) of the Constitution.

“The audit is in line with Goal Five of the Sustainable Development Goals — achievement of gender equality and empowering all women and girls,” he said.

“The main goal of our performance audit is to ensure effective use of public resources and promoting service delivery to Kenyans.”

Ouko recommended the creation of a monitoring and evaluation performance unit to check the progress and performance of women’s enterprises.