FEAR?

Low Sacco loan uptake in Nyeri a cause for concern, says governor

Kahiga tells residents to borrow money and use it to diversify their livelihoods for increased income.

In Summary

• Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Newfortis Sacco chairman John Githinji say many Saccos are willing to lend.  

• The governor said Newfortis has in excess of Sh1billon but the money is not being borrowed as expected.

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Newfortis Sacco chairman John Githinji on Tuesday.
Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Newfortis Sacco chairman John Githinji on Tuesday.
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI
Members of Newfortis Sacco follow proceedings during the Sacco’s AGM
Members of Newfortis Sacco follow proceedings during the Sacco’s AGM
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Nyeri leaders have decried the low uptake of loans by residents.

Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Newfortis Sacco chairman John Githinji said few people apply for loans, despite the existence of many willing Saccos. The leaders spoke yesterday during Newfortis Sacco Annual General Meeting at Nyamachaki Primary School.

The governor said Newfortis Sacco has in excess of Sh1 billion, but the money is not being borrowed as expected. He blamed the problem on members' lack of confidence in their sources of income or their creditworthiness.

"The challenge I have thrown to Nyeri residents is to walk to the cooperative societies and borrow,” he said.

The county chief said Nyeri has a number of opportunities that are coming up and called on residents to take advantage of them to change their lives. He cited the operationalisation of the Othaya Level Six Hospital, which is expected to employ 1,300 people, and the new market under construction at Chaka market in Kieni worth Sh1 billion. The two are national government projects. 

Others are multimillion projects being done by the county government such as the Sh600 million Nyeri town main bus terminus at the Asian Quarters, the new hospital coming up at Narumoru in Kieni constituency at a cost of Sh350 million and the operationalisation of Nyaibo airstrip.

Kahiga advised residents to consider borrowing loans, buying land and putting up buildings to fix the housing problem, which is captured in President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four Agenda under the affordable housing pillar. The other three are Universal Health Coverage, manufacturing and food security.

Kahiga advised teachers, who are the founders of Newfortis Sacco, to diversify their livelihoods. "This idea of people relying on one source of income is definitely what creates and abets corruption. So, for us, we just want to ask the members of Newfortis, the majority of whom are teachers, to think outside the box," he said.

He said they can engage in other income-generating activities as side hustles. The county chief said employment opportunities are scarce, hence the need to start businesses that can be run by unemployed spouses, children or youths.

Newfortis chairman Githinji said the Sacco has been pulling a lot of resources and has managed to give loans effectively and efficiently.

"However, the capacity of our members is being overwhelmed by the supply and so we have a low demand because most of them depend on salaries and we do not have a very high increment of loan uptake over the last few years,” he said.

He called on the members to make use of the opportunity and borrow not just from salaries but for other investments as well. They can borrow and try to generate more income which will enable them to borrow more, he said, cautioning that depending too much on payslips can ruin lives.

He emphasised the need to open up in terms of opportunities and investment and reinvest what is borrowed to catch up with the available supply.