Sacco savings hit trillion shillings amid government reforms

Saccos are built on affordability and accountability. [Courtesy]

At least 14 million Kenyans have saved over one trillion shillings in Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (Saccos), according to Co-operatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Development Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui.

The CS said Saccos have a consolidated asset base of at least Sh1.5 trillion and a loan portfolio of Sh900 billion.

"Currently, we have 92,000 Kenyans who have savings in these Saccos of over one million shillings," said Chelugui.

He said the 'cooperative business model' is an ideal vehicle to ensure success towards financial inclusion for the majority of Kenyans who would otherwise not have had access to financial services from conventional institutions.

"Cooperative societies and Saccos will therefore be a way of life and the Kenya Kwanza government will be using these institutions in delivering its services to the people in the broader bottom-up economic transformation agenda," said Chelugui who spoke in Kakamega during the launch of Invest and Grow Sacco's 2023-2027 strategic plan.

Mr Chelugui said the strategic plan will provide a roadmap, framework and action plan that Sacco will implement to achieve desired results.

"IG Sacco is a good example of how the cooperative movement can transform lives. It has been in existence for 46 years and today, it has 33,724 members, with an asset base of Sh13.2 billion, a loan portfolio of Sh9.8billion and in the last financial year, they had an income of Sh664 million," said Chelugui.

He added: "It is encouraging that despite the economic challenges the country has been facing, the Sacco has managed to remain resilient. In view of the critical role played by the cooperative and small micro-enterprises, we are committed to providing a good working environment for the sector to thrive."

Chelugui challenged Saccos to embrace emerging technological innovations sparring Fintechs, which he said, will go a long way in ensuring they remain relevant, sustainable, and impactful.

He asked the managements of these organisations to focus on making investments in the housing sector, transport, financial services, investments in mega projects and in the production industry to fast-track the socio-economic transformation of the society.

"We have two million boda bodas, 100,000 buses and 400,000 matatus in Kenya, the majority of which were financed by Saccos," said Chelugui, adding; "The discussion has now shifted to electric cars and motorcycles, a good area to invest in."

He added: "We are encouraging you (Saccos) to come up with loan products that can finance sector-based value chains such as tea, coffee, dairy and edible oils, and even artisanal mining. This way, we shall save the country from imports and foreign exchange losses of about Sh200 billion."

The CS announced that the government is undertaking reforms in the cooperative sector, through a review of its policy, legal frameworks and restructuring, to align it with President William Ruto's Beta agenda.

"The government has prioritised savings as an important element in funding national development initiatives. For Saccos, savings form a bulk of funding of credit facilities. Without sufficient mobilization of savings, Saccos will find it very difficult to meet the members’ credit and loan needs," said Chelugui

"This is especially so with the rising interest rates being pushed up by external factors, which in effect implies that external borrowing or loans are going to be quite expensive, thus many households, as well as hustler economies, are going to look forward to Saccos as their main source of credit facilities for household and enterprise financing."

Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (Sasra) chairman Jack Ranguma said that the reforms being undertaken are meant to strengthen and grow Saccos by aligning them to the Beta agenda.

Chelugui was accompanied by Cooperative Alliance of Kenya council member Daniel Marube, IG Sacco chairman Kennedy Keya and the sacco's  CEO Peter Vuhyah.

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