Over 65 percent of Kenyans belong to the co-operative movement, Senate Committee chairperson in charge of the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Njeru Ndwiga revealed on Tuesday.
Terming SACCO’s as a giant movement the chair who also doubles as the Embu County Senator said cooperatives contribute a bigger percentage of the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
As a way of upscaling cooperatives, he wants the government to create a stand-alone ministry instead of merging with other state departments.
“Cooperatives play a fundamental role in the economy of this country. If properly managed SACCO’s can boost the country’s GDP,” he said.
At the same time, Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives Limited Chairperson George Magutu urged members to shift in the business strategy to focus more on non-funded income through commissions and other fees by leveraging on digital platforms.
He however warned members to be more cautious and insure in cybersecurity adding that Covid19 exposed the loopholes of technology.
“We also need to be cautious about the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2020 to avoid penalties. Let us use online platforms including social media, vibrant websites and Apps to market and ensure our SACCOs remain visible to members,” he noted.
He called on members to improve their mobile banking services and educate old members on existing mobile and internet services.
Meanwhile, KUSCCO Group Managing Director George Ototo revealed that SACCO’s have been resilient during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ototo notes that SACCO Societies Regulatory Authority SASRA the Sacco regulator reported an increase in assets to sh 597 billion compared to sh525billion in the corresponding year period of 2019.
The MD wants the government to compel both private and public entities to release over 3.8 billion statutory deductions owed to SACCOS.
“The funds ought to be remitted to enable SACCOS to create employment, pay taxes and contribute to the nation’s economy, besides management of liquidity ratios as prescribed by the regulator,” he emphasized.
He also asked the county government to pay legacy non remittances inherited from the now defunct local authorities.
Mr Ototo notes that through members support the `KUSCCO raised a total of sh13 million to cushion vulnerable members with relief food and other supplies.
“By your donations, the committee raised over sh13 million in 2020 and bought shopping vouchers which beneficiaries used to buy ‘Co-op kits’. They include; 2kg of rice, 2kg beans, 2kg green grams, I litre cooking oil, 2 packets, maize flour masks and soap,” said the MD.
The theme of this year’s 6th Annual SACCO Leaders Convention is “SACCOS BEYOND COVID-19: accelerating towards recovery”