By George Otieno
Kilifi County Deputy Governor Flora Mbetsa Chibule has stressed on the need to support cooperatives as key enablers of Kenya’s improved social and economic growths.
Cooperatives, she said, cut across all the sectors of the economy namely agriculture, mining, housing, transport, and manufacturing.
In addition, they are known worldwide as instruments of poverty eradication and wealth creation through mobilization of financial resources for development hence the need to be given necessary support.
She was speaking during KUSCCO’s annual leaders’ summit held in Mombasa, on behalf of Kilifi Governor Gedion Mung’aro.
“We must commend the government for the good work it has done to ensure that there is a good operating environment for our cooperatives to thrive,” she stated.
Chibule identified Central Liquidity Facility, Sacco Central, Deposit Guarantee Fund, and Sacco Societies Fraud Investigation Unit as some of the police and regulatory framework aimed at improving member confidence on Saccos.
The incorporation of Kenya Mortgage Refinancing Company to bridge the gaps in mortgage financing in another milestone reported in the Sacco subsector.
She applauded KUSCCO for its dedication towards the growth of the Sacco sector through their various programs and activities such as the advocacy wing that has been very instrumental in lobbying for good pieces of legislation.
Chibule encouraged industry players to re-double their efforts in order to achieve financial inclusion in the country.
This, she said, can only be achieved by investing in digital transformation as the financial sector was very dynamic and as such Saccos had to embrace ICT in their operations to remain competitive.
“You need to map all your services and products on digital platforms and come up with innovative products such as internet banking and mobile banking. A robust management system will not only guarantee safety but also ease recording of transactions and regulatory reporting,” she advised.
Ms. Chibule underscored the need to entrench good governance practices to boost the growth and survival of any institution.
She identified the cooperative movement as a key partner in the county’s development agenda promising their support initiatives aimed at promoting and enhancing growth of cooperatives through activities.
These include building institutional capacity for value chain cooperatives to be able to do value addition and processing.
Others are allocation of capacity building funds for training members and officials of cooperatives, provision of working capital to start up cooperatives through the Kilifi County Micro Finance Fund and matching grants through agricultural sector programs, building capacity of the cooperatives directorate through staff training and recruitment and coming up with relevant legislations to meet specific sector needs
She remained optimistic on the future of Saccos, considering the establishment of a fully-fledged ministry of cooperatives and SMEs development.
This, she said, called for concerted efforts by the government and development partners to popularize and also support the Sacco business model for the benefit of our citizenry.