By Amos Kerich
A year after Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto took office, he started Multi-purpose Cooperative Societies in every ward in the County. This initiative has greatly boosted the living standards of the Sacco members.
When coming up with the initiative, Governor Ruto had observed that he knew very well that the largest percentage of his electorate were struggling in life without any capital to help them start small businesses and so he came up with idea which offered them capital within manageable groups.
The members of the Saccos are groups of youths and adults registered with the Ministry of Social Services.
To kick the initiative off, the Governor gave each Sacco not less than Sh. 1 million to start with as revolving fund, where all qualified groups would get loans to start businesses and repay with an interest of 1 per cent.
Sacco Review attended the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Mogogosiek Multipurpose Cooperative Society and had a chat with its officials as well as members. A year after its conception, they said, their lives have changed for good.
“Each Multi-purpose Sacco is managed by a Business Development Officer and his deputy and we are fully employed by the County Government of Bomet and assigned to educate the Sacco members who have started various businesses. We also follow-up their loans to ensure that they use them for the intended purposes,” Desmond Kirui said.
According to Kirui, for the first time, each group is awarded between Sh. 45,000 and Sh75,000. This is raised after it is fully repaid.
Emily Cheruiyot, the Chairlady of a women group selling groceries at Mogososiek Trading Centre said they have increased their business capital and bought a zero-grazing cow which gives them at least 20 litres of milk every day. They sell the milk at Sh 40 per litre making a cool Sh 24,000 per month.
“We really thank Bomet County Government which has greatly helped us to stabilize our families and pay school fees for our children. In fact we used to repay Micro-Finance firms’ loans at 24 per cent interest but we now repay our loans at only 1per cent interest,” Cheruiyot said.
Philip Bett from Koiwa said the County Government has helped them with their loans which are secured with no collateral as opposed to micro-finance outfits and banks. He adds that he was jobless but now rears more than 100 chicken meaning he is self-employed.
Simon Kirui, the Sacco Assistant Business Development Officer told this paper that for registration, every group pays Sh 500 whereby Sh300 is for shares while Sh. 200 is non-refundable registration fee.
At the moment, some of the services offered by the County Government to the farmers include subsidised A.I Services, marketing of farm produce and training on any other agricultural or economic practice. Nevertheless, the Sacco looks forward to expanding the financial services to ensure every needy County resident gets capital to start an income-generating activity.
County Cooperatives Commissioner, David Kerich said the County Government is determined to help its residents through the Multi-purpose Saccos and urged them to embrace the initiative.
“We are pleased by how the locals are embracing multi-purpose Saccos. As the County Government, we will ensure that they start economic activities. We will also work to ensure that their produce gets to the markets,” Kerich added.