NAIROBI-Simon Kiprono Chelugui took over the Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises [MSME] Ministry early last week, promising to address mismanagement in cooperatives. Chelugui took over from Peter Munya, who was in charge of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Trade.
Chelugui promised to seal loopholes that have seen farmers or members cheated out of their investments and to ensure such members get a return on their investments.
Chelugui vowed to build the vibrant sector and underscored the role of cooperatives in enhancing housing, transport, and food production in the country.
The CS called on the need to strengthen corporate governance and the leadership around the cooperative movement. “I’m aware there are pending policies and bills before Parliament that I need to work on,” he affirmed.
Some of the pending policies and bills include the National Cooperative Policy, Deposit Guarantee Fund and the Central Liquidity Facility.
The Deposit Guarantee Fund seeks to compensate members in case of the collapse of Saccos while the Central Liquidity Facility will offer Saccos an opportunity to lend to each other.
Chelugui identified coffee production as one of the sectors that has suffered due to poor management and promised to address the challenges facing it.
“Kenya was the best producer of coffee in Africa and the third in the world but poor leadership led to the collapse of the sector,” said Chelugui.
He regretted that poor management of the coffee cooperatives led to the declining production of coffee from about 140,000 metric tonnes to the current less than 40,000 tonnes.
Chelugui promised to work with new Kenya Cooperative Creameries [KCC] and New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union [KPCU] to solve the challenges afflicting the societies.
The former Labour and Social Protective Cabinet Secretary said that he will partner with individual players such as the ministries of trade and external organisations in East Africa for trade in order to realise its full potential.
“I will work using an open door policy to help take to greater heights the cooperative movement,” he said.
His predecessor Munya lauded the creation of the Cooperatives and MSME Ministry, adding that Kenya is on a transformation agenda and is largely driven by small businesses and cooperatives.
The ceremony was attended by State Department for Cooperatives Principal Secretary Ali Noor Ismail, Cooperative Commissioner David Obonyo, Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority [Sasra] CEO Peter Njuguna, and Sasra Board Chair George Murathe.
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