Government announces major reforms in the Cooperatives sector

Simon Chelugui

Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

The government has announced plans to put in place a raft of robust reforms in the cooperatives sector geared toward creating a conducive environment for cooperatives to conduct their businesses.

Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said the reforms will involve a review of various legislations affecting the sector.

This includes the review of the Cooperatives Bill, which is at an advanced stage before it is enacted into law.

There is also the amendment of the Sacco Societies Act to create a central liquidity and shared services facility to provide for inter-cooperative short-term borrowing, access to national payment systems as well as provision of common shared services.

He said the reforms target coffee, dairy, cotton, tea, pyrethrum, fish, edible oil, leather, livestock, mining, sugar cane, maize, horticulture and cereal cooperatives.

The CS said his ministry has partnered with the Council of Governors to strengthen cooperatives as the preferred vehicles for development in Kenya.

Already, a coordination team has been set up to fast-track the identified areas of collaboration and partnership.

He argued that the cooperative movement is expected to play a big role in the Bottom-up economic blueprint and in particular financing the provision of clean energy by youth-owned enterprises, and waste collectors’ cooperatives.

This is further to the provision of affordable housing in cooperative social housing schemes and access to government procurement opportunities through the facilitation of local purchase orders for businesses owned by youth, women and people with disability.

“As I talk to you today, the issue that should be uppermost in the minds of all delegates is how your sacco can utilise members' savings for the maximum benefit of all,” said Mr Chelugui.

“Good Corporate governance, innovation, change management and embracing best practices is critical for the continued growth of the cooperative movement in Kenya,” he added.

The CS was speaking during the 33rd annual delegates meeting to celebrate the opening of Nafasi DT Sacco’s new branch in Kayole, Nairobi.

He lauded the sacco for coming up with innovative ways to meet the needs of its members including building up the share capital of the society, asset base, deposits and loans portfolio.

This is besides the sacco’s wide range of products and services to cater for the diverse membership and clientele.

“I note with satisfaction the society’s continued rise in membership 40 percent of whom are associated with small and micro enterprises and chamas,” said Mr Chelugui as he called upon leaders of Saccos to provide a suitable environment that allows for business prosperity.

At the same time, he said that the government will soon be launching the second product of the hustler fund with the micro business product to provide a pathway to saccos to partner with the government to deepen financial inclusion and access to the majority at the bottom of the pyramid.

Mr Chelugui said the cooperative business model is best placed to facilitate financial deepening and access in the implementation of the bottom-up economic model to reach sections of the community not fully integrated in the financial ecosystem.

“The model resonates well with the bottom-up economic approach towards the pooling of our scarce resources for the economic growth of our country,” he said.