KWANIA – Cooperatives should follow a basic playbook for success which has a blend of good financial character and good governance, Patrick Bura, the District Principal Commercial Officer of Kwania, has said.
Bura offered the management tip while officiating at the recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Ikwera Co-operative Savings and Credit Society Ltd at Aduku town council in the northern district of Kwania.
The AGM was attended by about 900 members from the sub-counties of Abongomola, Nambieso, Chawente, Inomo, Akali, Ayabi, Atongtidi and Aduku.
On the same day, Ikwera SACCO elected a new board to run its affairs for the next four years.
Robert Odur, the former SACCO chairperson retained his job, Acayo Molly Grace is the new vice chairperson, Sister Molly Grace (treasurer), and Opio Nam Joseph (general secretary).
Awor Dilish, Adupa Bilington, Lawrence Etin, Ngu Jasper, and Ocaka Sarafina were elected members of the committee.
SACCO delegates elected
The meeting also elected 22 SACCO delegates representing 11 sub-counties in Kwania district.
“It is the duty of the delegates to formally and informally educate the SACCO members. It is their duty to spread the SACCO gospel to potential members.” Bura said.
A 2019 forensic audit found that Ikwera SACCO had made a loss of Shs 245m after unknown assailants broke into its premises and stole members’ savings. A security guard identified as Bonny Doi was arrested.
“The robbery took place amidst loud sounds of door breaking, safe dismantling and wall digging at night but Doi, the SACCO’s security guard, failed to make an alarm or call police officers at Kwania police station, which is less than 500 meters away,” Felix Oguna, the SACCO manager said, adding, “that prompted his arrest, investigations are ongoing although we have not recovered the money.”
Bura however, urged the new board to ensure good governance, which includes having credible leadership that implements good management practices.
“Given the turbulence it has had before, the SACCO is now on track. But it can only keep on track if the board is not selfish and practices good corporate governance,” he said.
He said a strong foundation for any cooperative starts with leaders who are willing to dedicate their time and resources to developing the SACCO.
“Your SACCO’s philosophy is savings and credit so members must be ready to save and save regularly to be able to access credit, which they must repay in time.” he explained.
George KK Akaca, the Aduku Town Council area councilor, urged prudence in appraising individual loan applications to avoid lending money to defaulters.
“Poor appraisal of loan applicants by loans officers has led to the collapse of many cooperatives,” he warned. He said a proper appraisal should take into consideration the applicant’s assets and carefully record their addresses.
“Otherwise, in no time you will find that they have gone bankrupt, or you cannot trace them, and it would be very hard for the SACCO to recover its money,” he said.
According to Ikwera SACCO’s General Manager, Felix Oguna, the SACCO, which was started in 2010, currently has 1,129 members.
The SACCO’s loan portfolio shot from Shs 540m to Shs 762m last year. It projects to have saved at least Shs 900m by the end of 2021.
“The SACCO has a number of challenges which include poor loan recovery, delay in loan payment, limited loan fund and high cost security provision among others, but now that we have the delegates in place, slowly the problems will come to an end,” Oguna said.
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