Report: Cooperatives yet to fully embrace digital technology

A cooperative society baseline survey conducted recently found that many Saccos have no websites, email addresses and other digital assets, resulting in the low level of digitization in cooperative societies governed by the State Department of Cooperatives (SDC).

Earlier on, the SDC engaged in a campaign urging co-operative movements notably the Saccos to go digital for effective services to members.

All Saccos, especially those in rural areas, were asked to perform their transactions online to minimize movement and contact among members during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Digitization is the key to maintaining service delivery in a safe and efficient manner,” advised Cynthia Wandia, a Chief Executive Officer of Kwara, an Information Technology Company.

The report recommended that the SDC and County governments encourage the establishment of information base co-operatives that are likely to attract the youth.

Already the SDC is in the process of developing a Co-operative Management Information System (CMIS) to automate the services and ease linkages with the counties and cooperative societies in order to enhance service delivery.

The survey also found that many cooperative officials were elderly and lacked skills and competencies in managing the affairs of the co-operatives.

“Many experienced co-operative development officers have exited the service without replacement thereby negatively affecting performance of the sector,” says the report.

Many respondents pointed out that the co-operative sector is facing governance challenges of non-adherences to best management practices leading to numerous judicial litigations.

The National Co-operative Policy which was approved last year by the cabinet and now at the implementation stage will however promote professionalism, co-operative philosophy and practice in the co-operative movement.

Since the co-operatives function was devolved there has been a disconnect between national and county governments in data sharing leading to challenges of aggregating sector statistics at the national level.

By Our Reporter

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