The giant Afya Sacco has hit more than Kshs. 14 billion in accumulated savings and assets as it marks its 37th anniversary this year up from Kshs. 13 billion it had clocked in the last financial year.
The Sacco’s Chairman Vitalis Lukiri announced that the society’s performance had continued to rise despite the many challenges that the cooperatives movement was facing in the country.
“Most of these challenges are coming from heightened competition from many commercial financial institutions in the competitive market crowned by the devolution challenges with many county governments delaying to remit to us our members’ dues every month,” he said.
The chairman says that sound management of the society and its ability to adapt to emerging challenges in the country’s financial market were key to the Sacco’s performance which is expected to grow in the beginning financial year.
One of Afya Sacco’s flagship projects which opened its doors to members of the general public in a departure from its core membership of its ministry of health employees AMCA recorded a sterling record of Kshs. 8 billion loan advances to its members attracting an interest of 5 per cent.
Mr. Lukiri said: “The turnover from this segment of our Sacco’s diversified business was Ksh. 2.1 billion in the financial year ending December 2016 compared to the previous year which was slightly more than Kshs. 1 billion.”
The other areas of excellent performance the Sacco experienced in the last financial year according to the chairman included its investments segment that recorded a rise of Kshs. 139.6 million at the just concluded financial year compared to the previous year’s Kshs. 134 million.
He says this was mostly from the sales of real property estates business and property rentals in which the Sacco is involved in not only within the Nairobi City County, but also the neighbouring Mavoko and and Kajiado counties in which the society has vast multi-billion shillings investment business interests.
For instance it had 505 acres of land from which 3575 plots of land were sold generating revenue of more than Kshs. 706.8 million was generated therefore bagging a surplus of Kshs. 52.8 million for Afya Sacco.
Mr. Lukiri says that with the emergence of the devolved governance institutions in the country, the society was compelled to increase branch networks to 103 to bring closer its services to the members spread in all the 47 counties in the country.
He was speaking during the Sacco’s Annual delegates Conference at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) at which the more than 2500 delegates from all over the country re-elected him unopposed to serve as the society’s chairman for another three year term.
The occasion was graced by the Principal Secretary ministry of cooperatives, trade and industry Noor Ali Ismail and the Commissioner of cooperatives Mrs. Mary Mungai amongst a host of other invited guests.
The chairman says the Sacco was experiencing high demands for loans and dividends while the individual membership remittances per month were low amid heightened competition from commercial financial institutions in the country that were increasingly adopting to practices that for decades have been a preserve for the country’s cooperative movement.
He says the society’s management is diligently plotting to ensure that in the financial year the Sacco achieved not less than 20 per cent growth and at the same time embark on aggressive programme to diversify its products to an attractive wide range while a seeking similar range of investment opportunities.
The Principal Secretary says by the end of the last financial year the government through the Sacco Society’s Regulatory Authority (SASRA) had registered more than 22, 000 cooperative society’s across the country including ten for Kenyans who are living and working in the Diaspora.
He said: “I am proud to tell you that Kenya’s cooperative movement is the top most number one in Africa and the ranked number seven in the entire world by the World Organization of Cooperative Unions (WOCCU) which is not an easy thing to achieve.”
Noor says that currently Kenya was supporting the development of the cooperative movement in countries like Rwanda, South Sudan, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa among others that were keen to borrow a leaf from the country’s achievements in the sector.
He says the country is developing a comprehensive cooperatives development policy that is aimed at tripling the development of the cooperatives movement in the country in recognition of highly significant contribution to the country’s economy, poverty alleviation and especially the achievement of the nation’s Vision 2013 objectives.
The P.S. says that the government has also established comprehensive plans to bolster the performance of SASRA and building its capacity in effectively and efficiently dealing with the ever increasing demands in the country’s cooperatives sector as it ensures its independence in regulating it.
He also announced that the government had put in place mortgage tax relief for stakeholders involved in the sub-sector and the Cooperatives which were involved in the business were also going to enjoy the tax relief for its members as far as mortgages and real estate properties development were concerned.
Noor says that currently, the country’s cooperative movement was enjoying a membership of more than 15 million active members whose growth was growing rapidly with more than 12 cooperatives being registered every week across the country.