Minister warns cooperative leaders against mismanagement

Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui has underscored the need for the government to mobilise available resources to generate revenue rather than depend on borrowed funds.

Chelugui noted that Kenya has a lot of untapped resources which should be tapped into to generate revenue.

“We can mobilise our own savings to invest in express highways, water projects and empowerment projects amongst others rather than borrowing,” he said during the first cooperative stakeholders annual conference 2023 held at a Mombasa hotel.

“Why should we borrow money from other people yet we have money with us?” the CS posed.

Chelugui also revealed about 63 per cent of Kenyans benefit directly or indirectly from the cooperative sector, adding that the sector also plays a key role in the agricultural industry.

He noted that if wisely invested in, agriculture could generate revenue and improve the country’s economy, highlighting coffee as one cash crop in the agricultural sector which the ministry is working to ensure reinstatement of proper production.

“Coffee is just not an ordinary crop. We should invest more to generate more, Chelugui said.

He added that coffee is a foreign exchange earner and thus government must restore the mandate of Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU) and restore the quality of coffee in the country.

The CS, however, noted that the sector has had its fair share of challenges with a wide mismanagement of cooperatives pronounced. He warned that the government cannot condone any mismanagement in the cooperative movement and thus everyone should uphold good governance and proper management.

“Co-operative leaders should foster proper management in their societies to steer forward the cooperative movement as a fall in one cooperative union could hamper the whole cooperative model,” Chelugui added during the conference.

He asked Sacco Society Regulatory Authority (SASRA) and Commissioner for Cooperatives to work with the county governments and increase inter-governmental relations in a bid to remain viable.

Chelugui further urged the societies to embrace and take seriously the uptake of technology in their organisations as technology is here to stay and it is the future.

By George Otieno

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