President Uhuru Kenyatta Saturday applauded Kenya’s cooperative movement for the invaluable role it has played in the country’s progress.
Kenya’s cooperative movement is ranked the best in Africa and seventh best globally with an asset base of more than Shs 1 trillion.
To enhance the contribution of saccos in the economic growth of the country, the President said the Government will increase policy interventions to fix identified loopholes in the sector.
“I direct the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Co-operatives to fast-track the formulation of the National Co-operative Policy and immediately operationalize the proposed Sacco Societies Fraud Investigation Unit (SSFIU) within the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA),” said the President.
President Kenyatta further called for the fast-tracking of the process of establishing a central liquidity facility which will enable saccos to participate in the national payment system and allow them to come up with more innovative products their members.
“Our Goal as government is to serve as facilitators and enablers, to clear the path for co-operatives so that they and their members can realize their full potential,” said the President.
He acknowledged the central role played by saccos in the economic stability of the country noting that cooperatives in Kenya have mobilized members’ savings and deposits in excess of Shs 732 billion, feature an asset base of approximately Shs 1 trillion and hold a loan portfolio of Shs 700 billion.
“Directly and indirectly, co-operatives account for 45% of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product and 30% of national savings and deposits,” the President said.
The Head of State spoke at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre where he addressed celebrations to mark the 97th International Co-operative Day.
The President who had earlier in the morning joined thousands of dairy farmers at the inauguration of the revamped New KCC Dandora Factory and, presided over the official opening of Nachu Plaza and Mwalimu Towers respectively, said cooperatives play an integral role in fostering national unity besides their invaluable contribution in building individual as well as national prosperity.
“The cooperative sector is a towering example of what can be achieved through unity, through coming together for the common good, through hard work, enterprise, sacrifice and unyielding commitment to positive goals,” said the President.
The Head of State said the cooperative sector is one of the key partners in the achievement of the Big 4 Agenda programmes covering decent and affordable housing; affordable healthcare for all; food and nutrition security for all Kenyans and job creation and economic growth through manufacturing.
On housing, the President said the government is partnering with the cooperative sector to ensure that as many Kenyans as possible enjoy the dignity of owning their own decent homes.
“I am informed that with over 1,980 housing/investment cooperatives with an asset base of Shs 31 billion, cooperatives are an ideal vehicle to provide at least 25% of the 500,000 new houses required across the country,” said the President.
The President revealed that 12 deposit taking saccos have subscribed to the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company which was recently established as a vehicle to unlock liquidity for mortgage financing under the government’s affordable housing programme.
The President who applauded the successful government interventions in cooperatives like the Kenya Cooperative Creameries said he was disappointed with the performance of Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU) and the Kenya Farmers Association (KFA). Consequently, he directed the Ministry of Trade to undertake a restructuring of the two giant cooperatives.
While presiding over the inauguration of the refurbished and upgraded New KCC Dandora Factory, the President assured dairy farmers across that days when they would discard raw for lack of adequate market are long gone saying the government is systematically revamping collapsed and underperforming KCC factories across the country.
He said the government had started by upgrading the New KCC Eldoret factory followed by the Sotik plant and now the Dandora unit. Going forward, the Head of State announced that the government is working on reviving Nyahuru and Kiganjo facilities.
Before the upgrade, the Dandora plant was processing 80,000 litres of milk daily, a volume that has now been doubled to 160,000 litres. The factory has an installed capacity of 360,000 per day and currently employees 600 people up from 300 before the revamp.
The NACHU Plaza and the Mwalimu Towers, all opened by the President Saturday, are owned by the National Cooperatives Housing Union (NACHU) and Mwalimu Sacco respectively.
The President was accompanied by Trade CS Peter Munya and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko among other senior government officials.