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SACCO FRATERNITY PRESENTS A UNITED FRONT AT LEADERS FORUM

 

Press Release
Thursday, 22nd February 2024
For Immediate Release

SACCO FRATERNITY PRESENTS A UNITED FRONT AT LEADERS FORUM

More than 1,400 leaders gathered in Mombasa for the annual SACCO Leaders Convention, organized by the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (KUSCCO). The forum, now in its ninth year, brings together SACCO leaders, key national and county government officials, major players across the financial sector and other friends of the Cooperative Movement to deliberate matters concerning the wellbeing of cooperatives.

Speaking during the closing ceremony, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Cooperatives and MSME Development, Hon. Simon Chelugui, lauded the crucial role that SACCOs play in the country’s economy. He encouraged the leaders to recognize the immense potential of SACCOs to address emerging challenges such as climate change, youth unemployment, and economic inequality.”

“Cooperatives embody the spirit of unity and collaboration, bringing together individuals with common goals to achieve shared prosperity. From agriculture to finance, housing to healthcare, cooperatives have touched every facet of our society,” said CS Chelugui.

It was noted that the past year has been one of the strongest in the Movement’s history, as member deposits tipped over Ksh 1 trillion for the first time. In addition to this, total assets held by cooperatives grew to Ksh 1.5 trillion. Indeed, Kenya’s SACCOs sub-sector is ranked first on the continent with regards to membership size and asset base, and seventh across the world today. The Cabinet Secretary praised the role that KUSCCO has played in facilitating this growth, and called for continued support for the umbrella body.

“As we look to the future, it is essential that we continue to support KUSCCO in its mission to promote the interests of SACCOs and advance financial inclusion in Kenya. KUSCCO is now evolving to serve its members better, and the Ministry fully supports the changes in leadership,” the Cabinet Secretary added.

As deliberations shifted towards securing the long-term sustainability of the Cooperative Movement, the Union affirmed its commitment to playing its advocacy role, as per its mandate. Speaking during the opening ceremony, Ag. KUSCCO Managing Director Arnold Munene noted that the Union will be working closely with the government to amend regulations that would promote SACCOs welfare.

“As a Union, we continue lobbying for policies that support the sustainability of SACCOs,” said Mr. Munene.

“In particular, we are keen on partnering with the Government for the resolution of the following key issues:

      The Cooperative Bill 2023, approved by cabinet and currently awaiting completion of Parliamentary and Senate processes.

      Proposed Legal Amendments to the SACCO Societies Act No. 14 of 2018, allowing for the operationalization of the Deposit Guarantee Fund - approved by Cabinet and provided for in the Finance Act, 2023.

      Unclaimed Financial Authority Act (UFAA), 2011, to be reviewed to provide an option for a claimant to nominate a beneficiary of their assets or to a cause of their choice.

      Delayed or non–remittance of SACCOs dues, where county governments, universities and other government agencies owe SACCOs over Ksh 3.5 billion. We are in talks with various institutions to resolve the issue.”

The theme for this year’s convention was “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: The New Landscape for SACCOs.” It emerged that while the Movement continued to grow in both size and diversity of its membership, this evolution needed to be reflected across all levels of SACCO operations. Between 2019 and 2022, the percentage of SACCO members who are women grew from 40% to 50%, bringing into sharper focus the need to ensure inclusion and representation for all.

“As a sector, we acknowledge that more needs to be done as far as achieving parity at senior level is concerned. Across our sub-sector, only 24% of Board members are women, an imbalance we would like to address in the shortest time possible,” the Ag. MD said.

“I challenge us all to chart a way forward for our movement, one in which women and other perennially under-represented groups have a seat at the decision-making table.”

In closing, the KUSCCO National Chairman, Mr. David Langat, urged leaders and SACCO members to continue upholding the collaborative spirit for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders involved, and for the good of the sector.

“Let us pull together and support the Union and its new leadership… With your collective goodwill and enhanced collaboration with the policy makers who stand strong with us today, the Cooperative Movement will continue cementing its place as one of the foundational pillars of this country’s economy,” the Chairman concluded.

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