MBARARA, October 23, 2023 – Officials running Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies [SACCOs] in western Uganda have been encouraged to train their members regularly so that they appreciate the business model of the organisations.
The call was made on Friday by the Mbarara City Principal Commercial Officer, Allan Karakure Buhanda while training members of Shuuku SACCO.
“As Shuuku SACCO, you must invest in member training and education as one of the principles of cooperatives because if you have members who know what to do, you will not struggle with management and leadership,” he said.
He added that the same training should be extended to the staff to equip them with the skills necessary for handling clients.
“Most of the people you employ are the ones who have pursued social sciences, so invest in your staff because you cannot separate a service from a service provider and there is no magic in managing the cooperatives,” he said.
He appealed to people in Mbarara City to join cooperatives if they are to solve financial challenges.
“We have challenges in our societies that hit us which we need to address. We can only do that if we unite and join SACCOs,” he said, urging SACCO members to guard against defaulting on loans.
Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, Senior Presidential Advisor on Economic and Manifesto Implementation and Patron Shuuku SACCO challenged the staff to maintain good customer care if the SACCO is to perform better in Mbarara City where competition for clients is high.
“Literally every financial institution is in Mbarara so what are you going to add in this money-making economy that differs from your competitors? The distinctive difference is to know your client. Interest pricing may not give you leverage in the market, but customer care will keep you surviving,” Kamuntu noted.
He also encouraged the Sacco leaders to design products depending on the target population. “You must know what segment of people in Mbarara is not served and what range of products and services is Shuuku SACCO going to design to fit that targeted population to address the financial gaps that they face,” he added.
Kamuntu encouraged compliance and networking if Shuuku SACCO is to survive in the competitive financial market. “Some banks have been closed because they failed comply with financial regulations. So file audit reports, be transparent, and conduct annual general meetings,” he said.
Steven Bongonzya, the board chairman Shuuku SACCO challenged members to avoid multiple borrowing, saying it is one of the factors that have contributed to high loan delinquency not only in SACCOs but also in other financial institutions. A loan becomes delinquent when a client does not make a payment by the specified due date.
He also appealed to the government to think of establishing of a credit reference bureau for SACCOs.
“We have credit reference services in place but it’s not yet mandatory for SACCOs to use the service. We encourage the government to gazette the credit reference bureau in the for SACCOs to get rid of multiple borrowers,” Bongonzya said.
Herbert Ahimbisibwe, general manager said Shuuku SACCO said it has 12,035 members, savings of over Shs 7 billion, share capital of over Shs 2.7bln, loan portfolio of over Shs 11bln, and total assets of over Shs 15bln. The SACCO which was established in 1998 currently has eight branches, employing about 44 staff.
“Like any other SACCO, we have loan defaulters but we usually tell members to inform the Sacco in time and we reschedule to service their loans,” Ahimbisibwe said.
Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our country-wide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news