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Parliament urged to fast-track the enactment of a Cooperative Bill

The National Assembly has been urged to expedite the passing of the Cooperative Bill, 2023 which seeks to enhance the governance of cooperatives and the protection of members’ savings, through enhanced supervision and regulation.

Last year, in October, the Cabinet approved the Cooperatives Bill, 2023 meant to guide the way cooperatives are registered and managed, and forwarded it to the National Assembly.

Speaking today on the sidelines of the 9th SACCO Leaders Convention in Mombasa CEO of the Cooperative Alliance of Kenya (CAK) Daniel Marube said the Bill would eliminate pyramids and shylocks disguised as SACCOs and cooperatives.

“I want to urge legislators to fast-track it. They should give the Cooperative Bill priority like the Housing Bill, so that we can have this Bill enacted as soon as possible. The Bill will bring good governance, ensure the savings are secured and enhance supervision to build trust,” said Marube.

The Bill seeks to establish the Office of the Commissioner for Cooperative Development at the National level of government and the Office of the County Director for Cooperatives in the 47 counties.

The Office of the Commissioner for Cooperative Development will be tasked with the promotion, registration, and regulation of cooperatives. It will also be a focal point for inter-governmental cooperative relations.

Meanwhile, Marube encouraged Women to take-up the leadership of co-operatives and SACCOs, as they are the biggest savers. The youth were advised to form workers’ cooperatives to offer services to the National and County governments.

“We want to assure them that at the moment, cooperatives are transforming, they are going digital. We are digitizing, we are moving the modern way where life is going. Cooperatives are now a place for the youth to access affordable financial services to develop themselves,” he said.

Marube lauded the government for being pro-SACCOs and cooperatives. He noted that the number of Kenyans joining cooperatives is growing amid the tough economic times.

“The environment we are in also hurts our members’ savings because you can save when you have a surplus. The pay slips of Teachers, Police Officers and other Civil Servants have remained the same, but taxation has continued to grow,” elucidated Marube.

However, he said, Kenyans are resilient and hardworking and savings have continued to grow despite the hard economic times.

Members of co-operative societies were also urged to attend Annual General Meetings (AGMs) to take stock of their leaders’ performance and the financial health of the cooperatives.

“It’s very important that the members are there to question the leaders to see if their cooperatives are performing well and if not, they need to get the audited books of accounts to interrogate and get the information about their cooperatives,” said Marube.

“That is where they have invested their money as savings. Members must take charge of those meetings, because the supreme authority is vested in the hands of the members,” he noted.

By Sadik Hassan

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