Monday, October 31, 2005

Microfinance institutions have been asked to lower their interest rates and work together towards economic recovery and poverty alleviation in the country.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) business adviser Fortunatius Okwiri asked the organisations to play a leading role in economic development and employment creation by offering loans and other financial services to more clients at affordable rates.

“Unlike major financial institutions which charge high interest rates, microfinance institutions should target low income earners,” Mr Okwiri said.

He was speaking during a ceremony to launch the International Year of Microcredit in Eldoret by UNDP.

The campaign to promote awareness about micro-finance and its role in helping to achieve economic development was marked with a procession on Eldoret streets and exhibition of wares by micro-finance organisations.

Among organisations that took part in the event included Equity Bank, K-Rep Bank, CIC Insurance, Investment Promotion Agency, Kadet, Faulu Kenya, Kenya Industrial Estate, Jamii Bora, Catholic Diocese of Eldoret, Kenya Women Trust Fund (KWTF) and Faidika International.

The occasion brought together community-based financial service providers to suggest an enabling policy for rural finance services.

K-Rep Bank North Rift and Western regional business manager Misheck Guandaro said the institution had disbursed more than Sh280 million to about 300 groups in the area.

“We finance small- and medium-scale enterprises and other micro enterprises mainly targeting the low-income earners with the aim of helping them boost their revenue generation,” Mr Guandaro explained.

The KWTF Eldoret unit official Judith Kiragu said the organisation had given more than Sh105 million loans to 3,800 members in the region.

Local Equity Bank manager Ben Nyutho called on residents to take advantage of the services offered by the bank at low interest rates.

Source: The Nation (Nairobi) (link opens in a new window)