By Stephen Makabila
The unveiling of the new co-operative policy is set for December following fast-tracking efforts by government through the State Department of Co-operatives, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Co-operatives.
Already, the Policy in its draft form has been cleaned-up and fine-tuned through financial support from the Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDP).
A senior official at the State Department of Co-operatives told Sacco Review that a meeting of the Council of Governors (COG) was scheduled for the second week of October for the 47 Governors to go through the Draft policy, make their input and approve it.
The COG meeting will be held instead of the policy being rolled out to the 47 counties for validation.
The meeting will be followed by a National Stakeholders Forum, which will approve the Draft before it is presented to the national government Cabinet as a Cabinet Memo.
“If the Cabinet approves it, it will then move to the Senate to be tabled by the Senate Majority leader Prof, Kithure Kindiki, before being moved to the National Assembly,” said the official who is not allowed to be quoted.
Approval by both Houses of Parliament will see the Draft policy become a sessional Paper to be signed by the President, paving way for review of the Co-operatives laws.
“If all goes as planned, we are likely to have the new policy by December this year,” added the official.
The new policy is supposed to clear grey areas brought about by the devolved system of government and ensure smooth running of the sector without overlaps between the national and county governments.
Industrialization and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary, Adan Mohamed had recently noted that the government had prioritized the review of the Co-operative Development policy, the Sacco Societies Act and the Cooperative Societies Act in order to align them to the constitution and the devolved system of government.
The CS also assured that the review process will be done with the full participation of all stakeholders in the sector. Already, the input of national co-operative organizations had already been incorporated in the draft.
The new policy has equally been the focus of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Co-operatives, whose members recently told a Saccos’ conference in Nairobi that they would do their best to ensure a policy that befits the sector is in place.
After ushering in of the new constitution, the co-operative movement was devolved but there are still grey areas when it comes to the exact roles of the national and county governments, thus necessitating a new guiding policy.
Most of the Saccos and co-operatives through their apex association, the Co-operative Alliance of Kenya (CAK), have been keen and closely following moves on the review of the policy, at times organizing their own forums over the same under CAK.
And some counties for example have been demanding for powers of registration of Saccos, a function that is currently the responsibility of the national government.
According to the Co-operative Principal Secretary, Ali Ismail, the most advisable way would be to have a central registry like the Companies Registry.
The PS has argued that county certificates will limit the growth of co-operatives confining them to respective devolved units.