The Treasury and the Senate is pursuing governmental organizations for recoveries of non-remitted dues owed to cooperative saccos. Cooperative Principal Secretary Ali Noor Ismail said that significant progress has been made by the Ministry to assist co-operatives recover their monies.
“We are alive to the challenge posed in enforcement of section 35 of the Cooperative Society Act (CSA) and despite all these, I am pleased to report that considerable progress has been made in recoveries, now totaling to Ksh. 306 million to-date since July 2020.
The PS who was being represented by the Commissioner of Cooperative development Geoffrey Njang’ombe during UKULIMA Sacco Annual Delegates Meeting today in Nairobi said non-remittances challenge is being given the attention it deserves and necessary interventions are underway.
The total non-remittances in the country stood at Ksh. 3,397,719,166 as at end of last year with the biggest culprits being public universities.
Njang’ombe in his part noted that it is deceitful for employers to have paid their employees and yet keep their money or divert it to other uses.
He insisted that it is especially wrong for government agencies to apply funds for what they are not meant for since the act is clear on cushioning employees and any advance action can be taken against the employers including being taken to court by the commissioner.
“We have minimal and little difficulties with private companies. The main problem is the government entities especially parastatals, universities and a few counties” the Commissioner said.
He however noted of the positive response the commission has had with the county government after reaching out to the Governors saying except for Mombasa County.
“We have had a perennial problem with a Sacco such as jitegemee which is almost on its knees due to non-remittance but we are still pursuing despite the positive response we have had lately,” he said.
Njang’ombe explained that the senate which is an oversight has summoned some institutions especially universities and there has been progress with Nairobi university having recovered Ksh. 200 million while Kenyatta University Ksh. 5 million.
Some banks previously had failed to honour the agencies notice, the Commissioner said, adding that they are pursuing with the Central Bank through parliament and also written to the public service through treasury which is a pending bill and they expect to get some recoveries through this effort.
“But it should not go to this extent, especially for universities despite some having financial problems and we negotiate and agree, we hope that all outstanding bills will be remitted forthwith now that they have resumed,” the commissioner said.
For culprits such as the Water Resources and Management Authority (WARMA), water boards, universities and other academic institutions and some county governments who owe money to UKULIMA Sacco, the Commissioner said they have been pursuing the matter which includes attaching their accounts.
“You cannot hide, and even if you open a new account, it will be easy to know all the accounts you have through working with the bank,” he said. But overall he acknowledged that as a commission they are doing quite well and shall not relent until they have all arrears recovered and remitted to the saccos.
Due to the effects of Covid-19, Commissioner Njang’ombe has advised societies who are running loans to restructure with good arrangements with members and also step down on projects so that little money is used on capital and operation.
“In order to contain costs, they should maybe emphasize on short term advances where there is FOSA and members can be cushioned from quick immediate needs and the returns are quickly recovered,” he said. He also emphasized on the need to educate members to cut costs on social and consumer expenses.
UKULIMA Sacco Chairman, Dr. Philip Cherono acknowledged that the difficult situation last year due to Covid-19 had seen members remittance reduce.
“Most members of the public service parastatals and especially counties experienced delayed salaries because of the protracted division of revenue debate at senate level which delayed thus no salaries were forthcoming but also some private companies had closed down, others went down and there was no remittance for their employees.
Overall, Dr. Cherono said because of the delay the sacco was required to make provision based on the delaying taking place and as a result of this they were forced to make an addition provision of Ksh. 45 million which would have gone to shareholders or depositors.
“This has made it difficult for the sacco to achieve our targets but despite this we performed well in maintaining the levels of previous achievement of the year 2019 despite us wanting to go beyond what we had in 2019,” he said.
As a sacco, he said that they are following with the commissioner of cooperatives and have gotten an assurance from the PS in helping them recover their money especially from organisations such as WARMA which owes them over Ksh. 48 million outstanding for a number of years now.
“We hope this economy is going to improve so that everybody else can be able to meet their obligation. The most difficult question however is why would somebody pay a salary and then refuse to remit what has been earned. Its puzzling why you would want to retain someone’s salary and yet they had earned it. Let the employers give reasons,” Dr. Cherono emphasised.
This year the sacco has proposed payment of interest on deposits at a rate of 9 percent which is Ksh. 700,746,815 compared to last year’s Ksh. 651,411,610 paid in the previous year at the same rate of 9 percent but an increase of Ksh. 49,335,205.
The board has also recommended a retention of also 5 percent out of the proposed 14 percent on dividends on share capital.
UKULIMA Sacco society has 108 branches spread out in all other 47 counties.