By Tsozungu Kombe
Sacco model through members’ savings should be used to source funds to incubate and grow agro-enterprises and boost value addition, Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives Managing Director, Mr George Ototo, has said
Speaking during the 3rd Annual Sacco Leaders Convention held at Sarova Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa county recently, the Kuscco boss added that by doing so the Saccos will complement Government strategy and the end goal will, therefore, be to industralize the country by 2030.
The MD further noted that it is the responsibility of co-operators to fully support the Government to realise Vision 2030 in the country.
Mr. Ototo, however said through the Ministry of Co-operative Development and Industraliazation, Saccos can mobilize young people and women and form organised groups and start small cottage industries for products such as: aloe vera, toothpaste, soap, vegetable oil and horticultural produce and, hence reduce importation of these products thus saving on foreign exchange reserves.
He revealed that the involvement of young people in cottage industries will create gainful employment, hence reduce participation in gambling, betting in lotteries.
He said that according to the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), approximately 45 percent of the Government revenue is directly derived from agriculture.
“The sector contributes over 75 percent of industrial raw materials and more than 50 percent of the export earnings,” Mr Ototo said, adding that agriculture is the mainstay of the country’s economy.
“It is the largest employer, accounting for 60 percent of the total employment and large percentage of farmers in the country are members of co-operatives,” he observed.
“The Convention objectives are to show the impact of the Sacco sector in financial inclusion within the country. It aims to identify
partners who can take this agenda further as well as lobby for an enabling legal environment for financial inclusion,” he noted.
“Financial inclusion is, therefore, increasingly being deliberated upon as a key reform agenda both at international level and individual countries” he explained.
The post 2015 Development Agenda directly puts financial inclusion as a key objective for United Nation countries, he said.
He stated that by 2016 more than 60 governments across the globe had already set financial inclusion as a formal target as recorded by International Monetary Fund (IMF).
On his part, Kuscco National Chairman, Mr George Magutu said the organization would work together with the Government spur growth of Saccos in the country.
He further encourage Sacco leaders in the country to set a side an annual budget for this activity and hosting of the convention as a key advocacy and training oriented event.
However, Mr. Magutu asked Saccos in the country to make sure that financial services are accessible and affordable to the physically challenged and differently abled, the informal sectors and those at the bottom of the pyramid to enable the country achieve full financial inclusion
“Access to financial services increases savings, reduces poverty, increases employment and leads to economic development”, he added. He said that financial inclusion helps to enhance Saccos’ mission and core business.