Groups feud over street vendors cash

Thursday April 28 2011

By NATION REPORTER

A lobby group has dismissed as “misinformed and meant to create confusion” claims that the Sh3.8 billion meant for the informal sector had been delayed deliberately.

The Kenya Association for the Financial Inclusion of the Informal Sector (NAFIIS) has written to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, saying the complaints about delays were baseless.

The Micro and Small Enterprise Fund was a provided for in the current Budget to help informal traders to improve their businesses.

“The misrepresentation is deliberate and calculated to create despondency,” said the letter written by NAFIIS chairman Solomon Ambuku.

Disburse the funds

The letter came a week after another lobby group calling itself the Kenya National Alliance of Street and Informal Traders (Kenasvit) raised the matter with the commission complaining that banks chosen to disburse the funds were deliberately delaying the release of the money.

This was followed by an assurance from KACC director Patrick Lumumba on Wednesday that his team would investigate the matter. But NAFIIS rubbished Kenasvit’s claims as “not the opinion of the informal sector.”

NAFIIS told KACC that the complaints raised by Kenasvit were meant to cause confusion in the disbursement of the money.

Kenasvit had claimed that a cartel was working with the three banks chosen to disburse the money to delay the exercise and could influence the channelling of the money to other uses.

Diverted elsewhere

“We are concerned that, should the fund not be disbursed in its entirety before June 30, this year, it could be easily diverted to other schemes,” said Kenasvit chairman Simon ole Nasieku.

Mr Nasieku said that despite an announcement from the Treasury that the money had been released to the three banks, the vendors could still not access it.

But Mr Ambuku said no money had been released from the Treasury.

“No bank has received a penny. Perhaps they (Kenasvit) should tell us which bank they visited. The money is still with the Treasury,” he said.