Mr Leornard Otii-Kericho County Commissioner of Co operatives.

Sacco members dwindle as multinationals lay off staff

By Benedicto Ng’etich

Kericho County Director of Cooperatives Leonard Otii has advised Saccos affiliated to giant multinationals to device other means of survival in the face of dwindling membership.

Otii expressed fear over the survival of the societies after the parent companies started early retirements of employees due to what has been seen as the nega­tive effects of massive mechani­zation of tea harvesting.

Mechanization of tea har­vesting has been on-going in Kericho and Bomet counties; this is despite resistance from the Kenya Plantation and Ag­ricultural Workers Union and Central Organization of Trade Union (COTU).

Besides job cuts already businesses in the regions’ sever­al trading centres are witnessing reduced business activities.

Otii said several multination­al affiliated Saccos were under­going serious challenges, which might see drastic shift in busi­ness operations or risk closure.

According to the Chairman of Simba Chai Sacco, Engineer Joseph Mitei the societies need to change tact to survive the challenges.

He said: “The changes in the parent company have led to many people being pushed out of their jobs. This has had impact in our financial position in terms of loans and deposits.”

Last year, the Sacco wit­nessed a drop in membership from 14,841 as at the end of the year 2016 to 14,390 in 2018.

The Sacco thus expanded its common bond to attract a wide section of members of the pub­lic.

Catherine Kivai, finance director at James Finlays Tea Company, challenged the societ­ies not to depend on tea workers but be innovative in developing other ways of attracting new members from the outside the estates.

She was addressing Ndege Chai Housing Cooperative del­egates during their annual meet­ing.

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