Out of the 750 SMEs that applied for “Mbele na Biz” initiative by World Bank, 203 have received full funding, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has said.
In a tweet on Sunday, Mucheru said that 348 SMEs have been cleared for payment, with 197 going through verification and two payments bouncing.
“I agree, it has been a painful process. My sincere apologies. I Am informed, clearing processes will be completed next week,” said Mucheru.
Mucheru said that for the 197 to be cleared; the bank account details and the IDs must reconcile to prevent payments from bouncing back and being put on suspense accounts by banks.
For the 197 to be cleared; The Bank Account Verification is key ,Bank Details and ID MUST reconcile. This will prevent payments bouncing back and being put on suspense accounts by Banks. https://t.co/SQZWoBOrn3
— Joe Mucheru EGH (@mucheru) May 23, 2021
This comes three months after complaints that the initiative was shrouded with dishonesty, with the list of beneficiaries being kept a secret.
The Ksh1.5 billion project was launched three years ago by World Bank through the Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) and managed by KPMG and an independent panel of judges. KPMG and the judges were to review business plan ideas submitted by applicants.
In the first phase, a total of 750 successful applicants were to be notified by end of the business plan competition and awarded as grants amounts between Ksh900,000 and Ksh3,600,000.
In a letter to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in February 2021, it was alleged that some of the 750 awardees are related/known to the “Mbele na Biz” team charged with selecting the winners.
“It has also been gathered from the social media groups that we share together as applicants that way long before the final announcement of the 750 winners, some of the applicants already knew who was in the list and who was not in the list (a list that has been kept confidential up to now) raising eyebrows of whether the process was compromised,” adds the letter.
The initiative is run under the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) banner.