The Co-operative movement in the country’s Western region can only register development if county governments put proper measures in place to support Saccos in their jurisdictions, seasoned co-operative expert Owuor Awuor has said.
Owuor, who is a long time regional leader of the giant Ushuru Sacco, observed that most co-operative societies in the region are not doing well compared to other regions due to absence of support strategies.
He noted that the co-operative movement is a devolved function that needs proper systems to make it succeed specifically in terms of savings and resource mobilization.
“You will note that in most of the Western Counties, the potential for co-operative development cuts across all the sectors of the economy. With proper strategies, the Saccos can be empowered to generate good jobs, contribute to food security, keep financial capital within local communities, build ethical value chains and most importantly improve people’s material conditions and security,” he stated.
Owuor particularly faulted the leadership of the devolved units for their failure to ensure a well thought out Co-operative Policy to address issues affecting the cooperative movement hence their prosperity.
“The Cooperative Policy will provide a framework through which Saccos are given requisite attention, including having an arrangement that is able to assist ailing and dormant Saccos,” he said.
Owuor said that the major killer of rural Saccos is loan defaulting since it erodes liquidity and denies the societies the opportunity to serve members and meet their expectations.
He also blamed mismanagement by leaders where officials mishandle members’ resources leading to constant wrangles.
“In this region with unlimited potential, the success of the cooperative movement will also depend on co-operatives adopting workable and practical financial programmes for members’ provident needs, ensuring fair policy on lending and collection, vigorous saving programmes, affordable products and effective programmes for building co-operative capitalization,” he stressed.
According to the Directorate of Co-operatives for Kisumu County, there has been tremendous growth in terms of increased membership and increased savings recently.
However the Directorate notes that in comparison to other counties, the county still lags behind in high savers, utilization of loan funds and building a strong foundation for the movement.
“Co-operatives in the county are gradually responding to the fast changes in the financial environment and are adopting new approaches for the cooperative model,” responded the County Trade, Tourism, Industry and Marketing CEC Mrs. Farida Salim.
By Erick Nyayiera
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