The County government of Kwale is set to revive close to 150 Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCO) that collapsed at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The County has 205 registered Saccos and only sixty-six have remained active since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
Close to 20,400 residents of Kwale County have embraced SACCOs with a total share capital of Sh 59,154,200 and member savings of Sh 842,884,000.
SACCOs are financial cooperatives established and operating under the laws of the Borrower about savings and credit cooperatives and owned by their members and governed by a member-elected board of directors.
Speaking to KNA, Kwale County Cooperative Officer in the Department of Tourism, Trade, and Enterprise development, Levina Lenjo said the county government will train the board of directors of the cooperatives in the county to refurbish them.
Lenjo added that Credit and Saving Cooperatives have played a vital role in empowering society and the devolved unit will ensure the over 150 dormant entities are active and operational.
“The economy of this county depends on these SACCOs and we will use a different approach to refurbish these cooperatives which are playing a vital role in supporting many enterprises in the county,” Lenjo said.
The director said many tourism-based cooperatives were affected following the suspension of tourism activities during the Covid-19 induced restriction of movements.
She said many workers in the tourism industry were laid off thus reducing SACCO’s deposits through membership deposits. “Generally, the situation was worse and people were affected differently while some received half salaries and member contributions dropped,” Lenjo said.
The director said the county government will convene workshops with the management of cooperatives to help get back to working. ”We want to bring experts so that they can talk to all boards of directors and help them to get back to working,” Lenjo said.
The Cooperative officer noted that many SACCOs are managed by unqualified personnel who contribute highly to the poor performance of the cooperatives.
Lenjo said the county government will enact policies that will guarantee cooperatives with qualified manpower.
‘’Many cooperatives are formed by ordinary people such as boda boda riders and eventually they lack basic managerial skills. The government will bring in procedures that would enable SACCOs to get well-experienced people to manage them,’’Lenjo said.
She lauded the regulations brought by the Sacco Societies Amendment, Bill 2018 to regulate SACCOs that offer banking services. The Sacco Societies Amendment Bill, 2018 regulates SACCOs that have a net worth of over Sh100 Million.
Lenjo urged special groups such as youth and women in the county to form cooperatives and get loans to found their enterprises.
In 2019, close to Sh 539,641,000 was cashed out as loans to different people with different needs making SACCOs key players in the country’s economy.
By Raymond Zaka and Hussein Abdullahi