• Most Sacco and cooperative members, including those in the boda boda and other small businesses, have been affected and cannot pay their loans.
• The committee has so far given out vouchers worth Sh5.6 million to affected members in Nairobi's Kanyago, Kiambio and Eastleigh to buy household items.
Low loans repayment in the cooperatives' sector has been blamed on the adverse effects of Covid-19.
Cooperatives Coronavirus Response Committee chairman Francis Kamande on Monday said 80 per cent of cooperative and Sacco members have either lost their jobs or closed businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This has affected their capacity to pay loans, Kamande said as he handed over vouchers for Sh500,000 to over 500 Sacco members affected by the pandemic.
“Most of the Sacco and cooperative members, including those in the boda boda and other small businesses, have been affected and cannot pay their loans. This has affected our capacity to do our work.
"We know it is not deliberate, so we have worked on modalities where we spread the time-frame for members to pay their loans,” he said.
Kamande said they are collaborating with universities to do a research on the impact of Covid-19 on cooperatives and recommend the best way to turn things around.
About 98 per cent of Kibra's Fuata Baba Housing Cooperative members have lost their jobs, Sacco member Habiba Ahmed said.
“The vouchers will go a long way in assisting us since most of us have either lost jobs, had a 50 per cent pay cut or have had businesses go down,” Ahmed said.
She is one of the beneficiaries of vouchers donated by members of the cooperative movement in the country through the Co-op Kit, an initiative that supports households affected by the pandemic.
Kamande said the committee was formed in March after the government saw the need to raise finances to help members of the larger community through Saccos.
“We have already handed over 5,500 vouchers to vulnerable households. Some 4,500 were identified from cooperative societies whose members have lost their incomes in Nairobi and 1,000 identified from the larger community,” he said.
They have so far given out vouchers worth Sh5.6 million to affected members in Nairobi's Kanyago, Kiambio and Eastleigh estates to buy household items.
Yesterday's presentation was the fourth in Nairobi. The committee's next destination is Naivasha where vouchers will be handed out to flower farm workers.
The other beneficiaries will be in Nyanza and in Mombasa.
“The effects of Covid-19 will continue to reverberate long after the virus is defeated. We therefore look at how best to retool and repurpose the cooperatives sector to ensure continued sustainability,” Kamande said.
- mwaniki fm