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Gov't will force Kenyans to use borrowed Hustler Fund to pay NHIF

The plan aims at achieving universal health coverage which is part of the Kenya Kwanza government agenda

NHIF offices

The Kenyan government plans to enroll Hustler Fund borrowers into the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) in order to implement universal health coverage.

Simon Chelugui, the Co-operatives and Small Enterprises Cabinet Secretary, stated that his ministry was in discussions with NHIF to use part of the borrowed cash from Hustler Fund for the national health insurance scheme.

Chelugui explained that the borrowed money would be used for bespoke products and that NHIF would deduct Sh17 per day from Hustler Fund borrowers for their health insurance.

"Alongside that (borrowing) are bespoke products which we will be launching. On universal health coverage, NHIF is engaging with us with a view of also taking out Sh17 per day from this hustler and putting it in their health insurance.

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"At least when a hustler is hurt or gets into an accident or is sick, he can walk to any hospital and they are treated and released. No one will be detained anymore," said Chelugui.

The number of applicants for hustler loans has increased to 19.7 million, and 62% of the Sh26 billion from the hustler fund has been repaid.

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NHIF has warned employers that they could be penalized if they fail to match their employees' contributions to the Fund on time.

NHIF Acting Chief Executive Officer Samson Kuhora said the penalty for late remittance is equal to the lending rate of interest on the amount of the contribution, as published by the Central Bank of Kenya.

The new penalties will go into effect on May 1, and companies must pay their contributions before the specified date of the following month.

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CBK’s base lending rate is currently set at 9.5 percent, highlighting the hefty fines that await employers who default on their NHIF obligations.

To be exempted from this requirement, businesses must provide a private medical scheme that offers benefits that are equivalent to or superior to those provided by the NHIF.

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