By Stephen Makabila
A major re-organization awaits public transport saccos in the country when the much awaited new National Co-operative policy is finally unveiled soon.
The Sacco Review has exclusively established that the government recognizes all existing PSV Saccos, Tutuk Saccos, Boda Boda Saccos, Taxis Saccos, Car Hire Saccos and Transporters Saccos (Lorries) as Saccos to be transformed and be renamed Transport Co-operatives (TRACOs).
In order to improve the management of public transport in Kenya, there is need for the government to transform the existing transport Saccos into effective Transport Co-operatives.
This entails comprehensive review of the transport Sacco by-laws with a view of integrating provisions for the route management clauses as envisaged by the transport Agencies while retaining savings and credit activities and other related business ventures,” reads the Draft policy seen by the Sacco Review in part.
It is expected that the review will transform the existing transport Saccos into professionally managed Transport Co-operatives (TRACOs).
Policy recommendation is that the government will transform transport Saccos into Transport Cooperatives while the Policy strategy is that the government will issue guidelines for streamlining of transport cooperatives for compliance with NTSA and Sacco business for compliance with SASRA regulations,” reads the Draft in part.
The new co-operative policy which is ready and is expected to be forwarded to the cabinet is expected to clearly state the roles of the national and county governments following devolution of co-operative services.
Senior Deputy Commissioner for Co-operatives in charge of Registration Geoffrey Njang’ombe told the Sacco Review the government’s commitment in bringing sanity to Transport Saccos was firm.
“There are a lot of gaps in the way Matatu Saccos operate for example, with charges for joining certain routes being exploitive. Such are some of the things we want to streamline,” added the Deputy Commissioner.
In 2016, the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (KUSCCO) said that matatus only formed saccos to meet a legal requirement by the Transport Licensing Board (TLB), and thus should not be members of savings and credit co-operative societies (saccos).
Kuscco Managing Director George Ototo had lamented that only a few matatu saccos had enviable pool of funds that enabled them to improve themselves.
Among key requirements of saccos is that they should have officials and a list of members who have a clear timetable of events on election of officials, series of meetings and that all proceedings be minuted for subsequent approval by members.
Njang’ombe on his part noted that many matatu saccos have turned into personalised cartels where they sell their fleet name to any matatu owner, who would never be bound by the sacco’s rules on remitting contributions as well as have powers to participate in meetings to elect new officials or vie for positions.
The Kenya National Union of Co-operative Staff (KNUCS) has also moved to court in a bid to ensure drivers and matatu conductors working for various transport Saccos have formalised employment.
KNUCS Secretary General Oloo Ogeka told Sacco Review most of the matatu employees were receptive to the idea, but their employers were yet to embrace it.
“We are still in court. We have summoned over 700 Saccos and we are awaiting conclusion of the case before we know how to move forward,” added Ogeka.
The transport industry, matatu sector in particular, is a multi-billion sector given majority of Kenyans depend on it for their transport needs both in rural and urban areas.