Nairobi News


Mobile money loans: Blacklisted Kenyans to be free in two weeks – Ruto

President William Ruto has promised that the millions of Kenyans who have been blacklisted because of mobile money loans will be removed from the list in two weeks.

The Head of State said he had been assured by the lenders that at least five million Kenyans on the list would be ‘set free’ in the next 14 days.

“Give me two weeks, those blacklisted because of debts will be free. But you must work hard there is nothing for free. If you try to steal government money, then we’ll deal with you accordingly as per the law,” he said.

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He said the removal from the blacklist would ease access to the Hustler Fund, which he said he would launch on December 1, 2022.

The small credit facility has emerged as a leading mobile loan, disbursing Sh1.5 billion daily.

Last month, President Ruto said lowering the cost of credit is part of multiple interventions to lower the cost of living.

“Instead of blacklisting, we can have a graduated listing of borrowers based on how they have borrowed and how they have paid back,” he said.

“This is a positive development for millions of Kenyans who are excluded from accessing credit. We have the largest opportunity in enabling credit access to MSMEs.”

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During his inauguration speech on September 13, 2022, President Ruto indicated that his government would initiate reforms to the operations of CRBs in a bid to better credit access to the more than 14 million persons listed with the credit bureaus.

According to President Ruto, reviewing the CRB listing mechanism will open the door to credit for up to four million people.

“This will now redeem close to four million Kenyans by the beginning of November. When you are blacklisted, you are told you are not a very good person. This has caused a great loss to many people with some missing out on jobs in addition to exclusion from formal borrowing.”

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has been stewarding reforms to credit information sharing, including the operations of CRBs.

Despite his hard stance on CRBs throughout the campaign trail and in his first weeks in office, President William Ruto said he was not against the role played by the bureaus.

“It’s not in our position that we are against CRBs. Our position is that we should change the model of listing so that we do not make it an all-or-nothing affair, unfairly disadvantaging borrowers,” added President Ruto.

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Under a credit scoring mechanism, borrowers are assigned specific scores based on their creditworthiness, with a higher score indicative of higher chances for the customer to meet his or her credit payments.

In the US, the credit score number ranges from 300 to 850 and is based on credit history, including the number of open accounts, total levels of debt, and repayment history.

In October last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a freeze on CRB listing for borrowers with outstanding amounts below Sh5 million from October 2020 until September 30 this year.

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