County ditches micro-finance bank plans in favour of Saccos

The County Government of Embu has abandoned plans to start a microfinance bank that would have created a vehicle for the citizens to save and access loans at friendly rates in favour of supporting Saccos.

Governor Martin Wambora said they realised a microfinance would just duplicate what the numerous Saccos in the county are doing. He said the existing county Saccos and cooperatives were already flourishing and had mobilised their clients to save and invest leading to a vibrant economy.

“We wanted to start a county microfinance bank that would benefit our people and develop the county, but we have decided not to because we will just be duplicating what Saccos are doing very well. Instead, we will promote the Saccos in the county through creating an enabling environment and partnering with them where relevant,” he said.

Speaking when he officially opened the Nawiri Sacco Kiritiri branch, the governor promised to ensure that the upcoming Embu County Coffee Mill and other county institutions operate their accounts in Saccos.

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He recalled that when he was the Runyenjes MP between 2002 and 2007, he had started initiatives to promote Saccos in the area and they had grown by far.

Noting that Saccos are future of the 47 counties, Wambora said the societies had helped farmers, groups and individuals to grow financially by providing affordable services compared to the big banks which he noted charge more.

Kiritiri branch is the eighth for the Nawiri Sacco, which is one of the largest in the county, with plans underway to open seven more branches in the nearby future. Sacco chairman James Njue, the CEO Joseph Njeru, Embu Agriculture Executive Annie Nyaga, Chief Officer John Mukundi, among others graced the event.

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Wambora advised the Sacco management to consider opening the new branches in vibrant towns within and outside county such as Mwea, Meru, Siakago, Gategi, Mutuovare, Ishiara and even in the cities. The governor said the economy of the county was set to expand with the commissioning of the County Coffee Mill next month, operationalisation of Karurumo fruits factory, the planned Ugweri Cooperative Creameries and a honey factory, among other projects. Ms Nyaga said the county was in the process of formulating a Cooperatives Bill which will regulate the sector and ensure member’s savings are safeguarded.

Njeru, the CEO, said the institution had grown fast in the last 10 years owing to provision of relevant products and quality delivery Embu ditches microfinance bank plans, favours Saccos of services.

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He said during that period the asset based had grown from Sh600 million to more than Sh2 billion adding that the institution competing well with local and national Saccos.

Embu has a vibrant cooperative movement and is served by tens of societies. Apart from Nawiri, the other major Saccos include Winas, Daima and County. Mavuria MCA Ngari Mbaka welcomed the setting up of the new branch exuding hope that it will accelerate the region’s growth in addition to creating employment opportunities.

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