The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority has called upon the government to support the activation of the MSE fund regulations which are still awaiting approval from the National Treasury.
The fund will grant affordable credit facilities to support the development of the MSE sector.
According to MSEA Board Chairman James Mureu, the sector was being exploited by the informal money lenders giving loans at commercial rates.
“There are many people who have gone out there and picked out very soft loans at almost 5 percent carrying that money in a briefcase to come and help the SMEs space and we know them and if they do not change we shall name them. They are people who have collected money that are purportedly targeting the SME space but that money has ended up at commercial rates and it has not helped us,” said Mureu.
Mureu urged all the stakeholders in the MSEs sector to support MSEA by channeling all the MSEs issues through the Authority issuing a warning to such companies to enhance the ease of accessing credit at a lower rate.
“We are again sounding a warning to all those who have picked that money and if you don’t cascade it down at a lower rate because we know you get concession rates but they come and give these loans at commercial rates.”
He added, “We are ready to work with willing institutions that are genuine with us and want to help us. We have the critical numbers but we don’t want people to exploit us at SME space going out with briefcases but I don’t know how many of them can genuinely say that they have impacted the MSME space.”
The authority also raised the concern of an influx of foreign hawkers in the Kenyan market creating a crisis within the formal and informal.
“I was in Isabania recently when I crossed over to Mwanza. I drove all the way to see exactly what was going on and I saw hawkers hawking products from Uganda through to Kenya and Tanzania. When the reverse is applied they are refused and we are saying to the government if you cannot protect us we will protect ourselves,” Mureu said.
On his part Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya National Juakali Federation Mr. Richard Muteti said MSEs are represented by both the public and private sector and called for enhanced collaboration and synergy between the industry players to realize the strengths of the sector.
He also revealed that the sector has never received share of the COVID-19 stimulus package which was put in place by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Apparently there are people who told the President we have received those funding and they have not received as much as we should have because really the target was to help most vulnerable sectors that could have collapsed,” said Mureu.
The sector leaders resolved to speak in one voice and engage like-minded partners to support MSEs build back stronger as the COVID-19 pandemic eases.