The Director of Cooperatives Nairobi County, Ms. Delphine Aremohas urged investments societies to partner with government in supporting the government’s 1 million housing units by 2022.
The Director said that under the big four agenda, the cooperative movement has a role to play considering it has to achieve a quarter of what the government is targeting.
Speaking during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Harambee Investment Cooperative (HIS) Society on Saturday, Aremo urged the cooperatives to also confine themselves to the objectives they are registered under and follow through activities as stipulated in their by-laws
“We encourage investment societies to buy land based on demand driven of members. Sometimes they buy land in an areas that is expensive and members are unable to afford and so they are stuck and impose the cost to members,” she said
The aim of the investment societies, Aremo said, is to assist members thus advising the societies to understand the level of the members by engaging them in the assets such as land they want to buy.
The Director confirmed that currently, the cooperatives have gone slow in registering investment societies under SACCOS since some of them are amorphous while the government want them to confine to a particular investment.
“SACCOs are for savings and loans but if one decides to tap in housing, we help them register investment,” Aremo clarified
The Harambee Sacco Chairman, Mcloud Malonza said although the investment society took off at a slow pace, they have devised different avenues with the investment society on how to keep it afloat.
“For the last 10 years, we have been able to bring in growth in our Harambee Sacco from 3.2 billion to the current Sh.27 billion and are targeting by the end of year, the growth will be Sh.80 billion thus we can assure members of the investments society as we will be able to get value for their money,” he said.
Malonza emphasized that the investment society would be handy in meeting the governments Big Four Agenda since most of their members were of low cadres and could not afford housing on their own.
He acknowledged that the issue of land is tricky because of fraud and brokers but assured that as an investment society, they have gotten partners and by February next year, they would have sold at least three pieces of land to 10, 000 members and at least 2, 000 housing units.
The chairman who stepped down as the Chair to concentrate on the mother Harambee Sacco said the new nine board members elected would be able to move with speed to produce results since most of the ground work has been done “and the only thing remaining is them meeting for a special meeting before Christmas holidays to amend and discuss the bylaws of the investment society.”
The Manager in charge of Investments, Gichuki Kabukuru said although they are a young society, they would bank on the huge numbers that the Sacco had for a ripple effect in liquidity as they target to reach at least 2,000 members within the next six months.
“This society banks on the members from the Harambee Sacco and with huge numbers of members we can be able to pool a lot of resources and make our investment society over the next two or three years be top in the country,”Kabukuru said
He said their main venture would be land but added that they would also be looking at other areas of logistics, money markets and even real estates.
The incoming CEO Harambee Sacco, Dr. George Ochiri said the investment society is viable despite the slow start.
“The membership of 72,000 members from Harambee Sacco is quite high and therefore the Harambee investment being a child of the bigger Sacco could equally do well in terms of investment or even five times more than what Safaricom investment can do,” Dr. Ochiri who is the former Safaricom Investment CEO said.
He noted that that at Harambee Sacco, members were hungry for investment and this is a new market opportunity that is currently bigger and higher.
“What attracts membership of a society is when they hear of money being invested in plots and dividends,” he said
Dr. Ochiri hoped that the newly constituted team in the board would be able to bring in new ideas and energy since the old board was serving also in the main SACCO.
By Wangari Ndirangu