Cooperative societies should support government efforts to house Kenyans by joining the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company.
Kuscco national chairman George Magutu told a national leaders’ meeting that saccos and housing cooperatives need to be part of the state bank which will provide secure, long-term funding to mortgage lenders.
“It will enable saccos borrow affordably to meet demand for housing loans from their members,” he said last Friday at a meeting to lobby for the adoption of the draft Co-operative Development Policy 2017.
The sector is governed by Sessional paper Number 6 of 1997, which does not accommodate current legislations and is not aligned with the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
The Co-operative function is now a devolved function in the 2010 Constitution of Kenya.
He however said the sector is opposed to amendments on Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2018, as it could lead to losses and penalties related to other laws, including the Proceeds of Crimes and Money Laundering Act, 2009.
“We are not ignorant of the presence of unscrupulous Kenyans, who may view this as an opportunity to make Saccos their cash cow to feather their nests,” he said.
Other laws that could negatively affect the sector include the Sacco Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Finance Bill, 2018, Sacco Societies Deposit Levy (Amendment) Order, 2018 and the Financial Market Conduct Bill.
The meeting was told that adopting the Co-operative Development Policy would guide stakeholder-inclusive reforms in the sector, including the review of the Sacco Societies Act and the Co-operatives Act.
“Successful review of this legal framework will minimise the exposure of saccos to multiple regulations, therefore safeguarding the savings of millions of Kenyans,” he said.
The MD asked the government to exempt members of cooperatives from making deductions towards the National Housing Development Fund, since their members are already saving towards achievement of their affordable housing goals.
He asked the government to strengthen already existing structures through providing financial guarantees to enable more housing co-operatives access affordable, long term off-shore funds.