By Staff Reporter
President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Co-operatives to immediately operationalize the proposed Sacco Societies Fraud Investigation Unit within the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA).
This is part of a series of policy and regulatory measures that he said the Jubilee administration has initiated so as to create an enabling environment for co-operative enterprises to thrive. Kenyatta also directed the Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Co-operatives; National Treasury and the Governor of Central Bank of Kenya to facilitate inter-Sacco lending.
“In order to address liquidity challenges faced by Saccos and to facilitate Inter-Sacco lending, I direct the Cabinet Secretary, The National Treasury, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Trade Industry and Co-operatives and Governor, Central Bank of Kenya to speed up the process of establishing the Central Liquidity facility which would enable Saccos to participate in the National Payment System and allow them to come up with more innovative products for Kenyans,” said President Kenyatta.
He made these remarks during this year’s 97th International Co-operative Day Celebrations held recently at KICC Grounds, Nairobi.
The anti-fraud unit at SASRA will have police officers attached to assist in daily investigation and detection of fraud.
The unit will be tasked with fraud, money laundering and false accounting, with auditors and financial experts making up the team of sleuths.
The Co-operative movement in Kenya has over 23,000 registered societies with a total membership of over 14 million people according to the government data.
Co-operatives in Kenya have mobilized members’ savings and deposits in excess of Sh 732 billion, hold an asset base of approximately Sh 1 trillion and a loan portfolio of Sh 700 billion.
Directly and indirectly, Co-operatives account for 45 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product and 30 per cent of national savings and deposits.
SASRA data indicate that Saccos employ more than 500,000 Kenyans directly and another 1.5 million indirectly, in addition to their invaluable contribution in creating secondary employment, supporting enterprise and powering the economic activities of tens of millions of Kenyans. It is thus estimated that a full two-thirds of all Kenyans can directly or indirectly earn a living from the co-operative sector.
“My Government recognizes the importance of co-operatives in wealth and employment creation. In this regard, the Co-operative Sector has been identified as one of the key partners in the realization of the Big 4 Agenda – decent and affordable housing; affordable healthcare for all; food and nutrition security for all Kenyans and job creation and economic growth through manufacturing,” said President Kenyatta.
He said that co-operatives have been and continue to be the bedrock of Agriculture and Food Security in Kenya. He added reform and modernization steps, such as those deployed with regard to the New Kenya Co-operative Creameries (NKCC), will be applied in reviving dormant co-operatives.
Under the manufacturing pillar, the Jubilee administration has prioritized reforms and revitalization measures in various economic sub-sectors in which co-operatives have traditionally been huge players, but which over time have experienced challenges.
The President noted his government has taken proactive steps that have resulted in positive gains for co-operatives operating in the coffee, livestock, dairy and informal sector.
“I am aware that with over 1,980 Housing/Investment Co-operatives with an asset base of Sh 31 billion, co-operatives are an ideal vehicle to provide at least 25 per cent of the 500,000 new houses required across the country. It is worthwhile to note that over the years, co-operatives have provided 80 per cent of the affordable housing availed to the middle and lower income groups,” said President Kenyatta.
He applauded the significant contribution and positive impact that co-operatives in Kenya and across the Globe have had.
“Together, we also wish the co-operative movement at home and abroad every success as it continues to make Kenya and the world a better place for all humanity: uniting families, communities, nations, regions and the globe. That is the unity of purpose we are rooting for,” said President Kenyatta.