Amidst growing concerns over the governance of cooperatives and the security of members’ savings, stakeholders have appealed to the National Assembly to accelerate the enactment of the Cooperative Bill, 2023. This legislation aims to bolster oversight and regulation, ensuring the integrity of cooperative institutions.

The Cooperative Bill, 2023, which received Cabinet approval in October last year, proposes comprehensive measures to streamline the registration and management of cooperatives. By fostering enhanced supervision and regulation, the bill aims to root out fraudulent schemes masquerading as SACCOs and cooperatives.

Daniel Marube, CEO of the Cooperative Alliance of Kenya (CAK), emphasized the urgency of fast-tracking the bill’s passage during the 9th SACCO Leaders Convention in Mombasa. He underscored the imperative of prioritizing the Cooperative Bill akin to other critical legislation such as the Housing Bill. Marube highlighted the transformative potential of the bill, asserting that its implementation would instill good governance, safeguard savings, and fortify supervision to bolster trust among members.

Central to the bill’s provisions is the establishment of the Office of the Commissioner for Cooperative Development at the national level, alongside County Directors for Cooperatives in all 47 counties. These offices will assume responsibility for promoting, registering, and regulating cooperatives, while facilitating inter-governmental cooperative relations.

In addition to governance reforms, Marube advocated for increased participation of women in cooperative leadership roles, recognizing their significant contribution as primary savers. He also encouraged youth to establish workers’ cooperatives, positioning them to provide essential services to both national and county governments. Marube emphasized the modernization of cooperatives, highlighting their evolution towards digital platforms to enhance accessibility and affordability of financial services, particularly for the youth.

Despite economic challenges, Marube commended Kenyans for their resilience and diligence, noting a steady growth in savings within cooperatives. He acknowledged the government’s supportive stance towards SACCOs and cooperatives, attributing the swelling membership to favorable policies.

Emphasizing member empowerment, stakeholders urged active participation in Annual General Meetings (AGMs) to scrutinize leadership performance and assess the financial well-being of cooperatives. Marube stressed the importance of members exercising their authority, emphasizing that ultimate decision-making power rests with them.

As Kenya navigates economic uncertainties, the Cooperative Bill emerges as a crucial legislative tool to fortify the cooperative sector, ensuring its resilience and sustainability in safeguarding the interests of its members.

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