By Our Reporter
As Public Participation on the contentious Finance Bill, 2023/24 enters homestreach, I am not certain whether the cooperative sector has submitted any Memoranda on behalf of the 15,000-strong membership.
To the best of my knowledge, the cooperative sector hasn’t affiliated to KEPSA; yet that is where it rightfully belongs as part of the private sector players!
As an ordinary cooperator I know for a fact that the majority of sacco members are *”net borrowers*”
If you sampled payslips of the majority of members drawn from employer-based saccos , you will note the following in terms of non-statutory deductions;
1. Salary Advance from Employers;
2.Development loans ,
3. Emergency Loans
4.School fees loans
5 Product loans
6 Hustler loans
7 Other digital loans
8.Loans from chamas etc
Most of these sacco members survive on consumption loans and retire as defaulters .
Where will the proposed 3% Housing Levy be slotted, if approved by Parliament ??
On Housing, the cooperative sector is a champion in the promotion of affordable housing for their members .
There is infact a stand-alone Federation for the housing cooperative subsector!
Why can’t the govt support the coop sector in constructing low-cost housing to accommodate their members ?
Doesn’t the govt’s proposal to engage in housing amount to direct competition with private sector players?
Isn’t it a an established norm that govts dont engage in business but rather they create an enabling environment . .both legislative and regulatory…for the private sector to spur growth and create jobs for the jobless!
From where I sit , the cooperative sector cannot afford to be a bystander yet it commands 15million followers who would be directly impacted by such a Bill.
The Constitution of Kenya guarantees freedom of expression so we need to add our voice on matters that affect our business!!
Finally, I hope time will come when research will be carried out to establish the real impact of sacco loans to debunk the perception that sacco loans have significantly changed members’ lives..
That is the elephant in the room.
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