•Government is finalising the establishment of the Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund.
•Jua kali traders and other small businesses will access cheaper loans to stay afloat during Covid-19.
The government is finalising plans to establish a credit fund to support Jua Kali traders and other SMEs with affordable loans.
Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development CS Betty Maina revealed that the Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund will help SMEs manufacture and sell essential Covid-19 equipment during this period.
"The government is keen on supporting SME efforts to increase liquidity to improve their cash flow and reduce vulnerabilities. The ministry is encouraged by the sector who have responded well to the crisis with innovative solutions to build local capacity for the local production of critical supplies,” Maina said.
The CS lauded the Jua Kali sector’s pivotal role in the fight against Covid-19 and urged entrepreneurs to exploit such initiatives and packages provided by the government.
“Kenya is now able to produce items that we used to import such as ventilators, PPE, thermometer guns, oxygen cylinders, soap, sanitiser and walk-through sanitiser, HDU beds, water tanks and touch-free hand washing machines,” she said.
Maina spoke on Thursday while receiving a donation of 210 hand washing stations from the Stanbic Bank on behalf of the Jua Kali community in Kenya.
The CS thanked the bank for the donation - worth Sh2 million - and for its continued support towards the war against Covid-19.
"I also wish to recognise Stanbic for issuing moratoriums to its customers by restructuring loans worth Sh38 billion to protect individuals, SMEs and large corporates against economic shocks," Maina said.
Speaking at the same event, Stanbic Bank CEO Charles Mudiwa said the institution was concerned about Jua Kali traders whose livelihoods had been interrupted by the pandemic.
"We have formed this partnership with the ministry to ensure that the Jua Kali traders who have been greatly affected by the pandemic are provided with support to continue functioning and provide for their families," Mudiwa said.
He promised that the bank would continue to aid Kenyans of all walks of life to overcome the challenges of Covid-19 and pick themselves up in the post-Covid period.
Stanbic Bank has thus far invested Sh147 million in the war against Covid-19 by donating essential equipment such as hand washing stations, PPE and non-invasive oxygen ventilators to the health sector.
Edited by Henry Makori