By Azael Masese
Nairobi County Director of Cooperatives Dolphine Aremo has urged area residents to join cooperative societies, identifying them as valuable investment tools to enabling them achieve their financial goals.
Speaking to Sacco Review at her Nyayo House office, Aremo said Nairobi is home to some of the best performing and profitable Saccos with excellent products and services.
Majority of these are financial cooperatives, hence well positioned to finance the members’ efforts to engage in income generating activities.
A good number of Saccos have formed housing cooperatives, giving their members an excellent opportunity to own properties, principally land, where members can put up residential or commercial houses.
“Nairobi is home to the country’s top Saccos such as Mwalimu National, Stima Sacco, Kenya National Police Deposit Taking Sacco, Harambee, Afya, Unaitas, United Nations and Ukulima Sacco,” she said.
UN Sacco, declared the best Sacco during the 100th Ushirika Day, has a membership from all over the world.
“Sacco members have dual responsibility of taking loans to engage in income generating activities and saving in Saccos,” she observed.
This way, Aremo, a member of Shirika Sacco, said Kenyans are able to build their wealth and create jobs for others.
Aremo disclosed that in 2020, cooperatives in Nairobi had an asset base of Ksh521 billion, a deposit portfolio of Ksh346 billion and a loan book of Ksh319 billion.
With a membership of 2.1 million in 2020, Aremo expressed optimism that the number is on the rise.
With Kenya’s highest saver, estimated at Ksh100 million coming from Nairobi, Aremo said there is every reason for Nairobians to embrace Saccos.
“Get loans to do business and whatever you do, get a return to boost your savings,” she advised.
With members able to get loans up to three times of their savings, Aremo said there is no other place to develop financially other than in Saccos.
Saccos have been identified as intermediaries in disbursing the Hustlers Fund.
Consequently, Aremo said this presents Nairobi residents with an excellent opportunity to build their financial bases through it.
A number of Saccos have also identified Nairobi as a capital base that will help them mobilise savings as well as offer credit in their effort to accelerate growth.
This presents the perfect opportunity for investors to save as well as take loans.
According to Sacco Supervision Annual Report, 2021, eight out of ten wealthiest Saccos in the country have their head offices in Nairobi.
Other than deposit taking Saccos, Nairobi has the highest concentration of the Non-Withdrawable Deposit Taking Saccos, making it a key savings mobilization target.
Aremo is upbeat that with the right governance structures in place, Kenya’s Saccos are prepared for phenomenal growth.
“Cooperatives have systems and governance structures in place to address challenges,” Aremo said, adding that the Annual General Meetings and Annual Delegates Meetings can help resolve any contentious issue.
She said once the Sacco Societies Act is passed into law, public service vehicles that have been tagged Saccos will instead be called transport cooperatives to streamline operations.
“These are transport cooperatives not Saccos and once the Bill is approved, they will be aligned properly,” she said.