Mastercard Foundation has channeled Sh10 million to small businesses  in Vihiga County to help them recover from the impact of he Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and industry (KNCCI) Vihiga Branch chairman Billy Nyonje said more than  600 traders have already benefited from the grant.

He said more traders will  be funded in the second phase. “The grant came at the right time when most of the traders were struggling to revive their businesses after Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

“In this second phase, I urge Luanda traders to come out in large numbers to apply,” he said.He said in the first phase Emuhaya, Hamisi and Sabatia sub-counties topped the list of applicants “I didn’t expect Luanda town to trail in the list and yet that’s where we have so many traders, Luanda is the main engine of business in this county,” said Nyonje.

He said apart from Mastercard, other financial institutions supporting traders to get back on their feet include Vihiga Traders Sacco, Step and Fly Micro Finance and Equity Bank. Nyonje decried the harassment of traders in the county by the Finance and trade department saying  it should review its licensing fee because of the impact of Covid-19 on businesses.

“We know the county survives on this revenue collected but the situation at hand must be understood,” said the official..He said county reinforcement officers confiscate traders goods noting that some items once seized lose their market value.

“We need an MOU with the county on how the licensing will be done to avoid wrangles within our markets with county enforcers,” Nyonje said.