The recently launched National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) dubbed Huduma Number could be a scheme to defraud unsuspecting Kenyans while benefiting the Kenyatta family, known for controlling a large share of the country’s economy, David Ndii opines.
Ndii, an economist, links the Huduma Namba initiative to a proposed money lending platform called Wezesha targeting Small and Medium-sized Entrepreneurs (SMEs).
According to Ndii, the Huduma Namba initiative tactics, are aimed at aiding the Kenyatta family to take over lending to SMEs.
He has now called for Kenyans to resist the exercise, terming it a Kenyatta crony capitalism state capture initiative.
While launching the Huduma Namba exercise on Tuesday in Machakos county, President Kenyatta, termed those opposed to the exercise as having ill motives.
The President rooted for the exercise that saw many leaders in the opposition turn up to call for mass registrations. They include Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula and Kalonzo Musyoka, who launched the exercise in various counties across the country.
The economist accuses President Kenyatta of providing cover to the family’s business monopoly tactics.
According to David Ndii, the Wezesha platform, described as collaborative initiative to bridge the access to credit by SMEs, will be managed by the Kenyatta family-owned Commercial Bank of Africa.
Commercial Bank of Africa will manage four other banks behind the platform. They are NIC Bank, Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), the Kenya Commercial Bank and Cooperative Bank.
The economist says Huduma Namba is central to the Wezesha scheme, informing the massive rooting by President Kenyatta on the initiative.
“When it was launched we were threatened that Kenyans who did not register would be denied public services. We are compelled to ask whether this threat, and its prominence in this scheme are related. Are the president’s commercial interests the force behind the Huduma Number?” Ndii poses.
In his observation, the bio-metric initiative is targeted at benefiting the loan platform in many ways.
First, reports indicate that the Wezesha platform targets five million sign-ups and two million users in the first year, and this is where President Uhuru Kenyatta’s push for the Huduma Number initiative partly comes in.
The Wezesha platform, which will offer micro and small enterprises an overdraft facility of up to KSh 50,000, and a loan of up to 12 months with a limit of KSh 200,000, will be used as an incentive to get Kenyans link their unique number to the loan platform.
According to Ndii, the registration incentive will lead to the integration of the Huduma Number to the Wezesha platform once ready.
Second, the Wezesha firm targeting more than five million sign-ups raises eyebrows. Informing the reason why the government didn’t go for KRA PINs as a requirement but Huduma Numba.
The simple reason according to Ndii, is that the five million figure, which is targeted at Wezesha platform, is more than all registered taxpayers. So, having a PIN as a requirement could be a deterrent to achieving their fraud.
The economist goes ahead to explain the financial risk, interest rates and the public credit insurance in the Wezesha loan business and concludes that Wezesha is simply a scheme to fleece the public.
“In today’s financial lingo, the Scheme is fully “de-risked”…par for the course in “public-private partnership” (PPP) business, where the profits are privatized, but the losses are socialized (i.e. borne by the public),” Ndii explains
He adds that Wezesha is a strategy to finance undercutting the competition by pricing below cost at entry, with the intention of charging monopoly prices once the competition is driven out of business.
According to him, the nine percent interest proposed is a bait. Its purpose is to make the case for the proposed government credit insurance scheme by purporting to offer SMEs affordable credit.
— David Ndii (@DavidNdii) April 4, 2019