Member Participation

The AGM being the supreme organ of the Sacco members should be facilitated by the board to fully participate in the AGM and other meetings of the Sacco including timely receipt of notice and documentation of the meeting including annual financial statements, corporate governance reports and other matters of importance to the members.
Prior to the AGM members should be encouraged to enhance their contributions to deliberations at the AGM through vigorous engagement at Zonal or branch meetings as well as Delegates pre-AGM briefings and conferences to ensure alignment of views and positions.
At the AGM, members should be given ample opportunity to raise any concerns they may have regarding the performance of the Sacco, as well as its governance, and to receive satisfactory answers to their enquiries. Voting at the AGM should be conducted in accordance with by-laws and the minutes of the AGM should be circulated to members as soon thereafter as possible.
Members should also be facilitated by management with easy access to information relating to the Sacco including internal regulations, registers, minutes of the general meetings, supervisory committee meetings and all regulations in force.
Other rights of participation by members include:
(a) A right to share in the surplus of the society by way of dividend or bonus
(b) Enjoyment of all the services provided by the Sacco including savings and credit facilities
(c) The right to submit projects or initiatives on improvement of the Sacco services for consideration by the Board.
(d) The opportunity to appoint nominees

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Be careful with fast growing Saccos!!!

People, Processes and Systems should be in place before Saccos go “viral.”  A Sacco growing fast is not a bad thing but management should make sure they are ready for it. I have witnessed some societies that were just recently registered that have opened up branches across the country raising questions as to whether they followed the right procedures in doing so.

I will be more comfortable with say Unaitas Sacco growing very fast than with a newly registered society like Good Life Sacco. Unaitas has been there for years and they have the experience running a co-operative business. Its important to have the right people, processes and systems in place before aggressive marketing.

Some of the newly registered societies are usually restricted to operate within a small area of operation e.g. a sub-county or county. Sometimes without close supervision, they expand very fast opening branches all over the country without following the required procedures or sticking to the society’s by-laws especially the area of operation and resolutions passed by members.

I have also realized that some of these newly registered and fast growing societies have hidden intention and the public should be wary of these societies and inquire appropriately before committing. Hidden agenda specifically boils down to management/board of directors. Some of them have no intention of exiting the board and have carefully orchestrated an election “system” where they get re-elected year on year out. They use intimidation or membership ignorance to continue being in office. They have somehow put in place an election policy that they sneaked into a general meeting and had it approved that assures assures them of re-election. I still believe an election nomination process that excludes independent persons, is a sham. How can a nomination committee be composed of same people in the management committee who are to be subjected to an election process and to make matters worse, end up nominating exact number of people required? Isn’t this an election carried out by board and not members of the society?

Some of the fast growing societies have also sometimes close relationship with the church or the company within which the membership is drawn. They have what they call “a patron” who has way too much sway when it comes to societal matters. They fail to note that the society is an autonomous and synonymous organization. That the society can be sued, it can sue, own both movable and immovable property, etc. The membership in this scenario has been reduced to the role of attending meetings….just to fill the hall!! They have also failed to note that the Co-operative Societies Act and Rules, does not mention “patron” anywhere!!

I predict very soon, we will have some of the fast growing societies collapsing. This is because they have not considered some of the following issues before going ‘viral’-

PEOPLE: Do you have people in place who will steer and direct the growth? Has the management been trained/educated on basic co-operatives operations, Act, Rules? Does the staff have the required qualifications and experiences? Do the membership know what are the objectives of their co-operative? Do you know the stakeholders??

PROCESSES: Are there loan applications, membership withdrawal, staff recruitment, code of conduct, staff promotion, staff dismissal, elections, investments, dividends payments, etc processes that are known by all concerned? How did these processes come into being? How are meetings conducted management (board of directors), supervisory, management/supervisory and general meetings? Are membership views taken into consideration? How is the management committee, supervisory committee, staff and membership taken into account?  How are disputes resolved? Do you have an ICT system in place to manage the unprecedented growth? Is there a strategic plan for the society? How are shareholders and stakeholders engaged? Is there a risk management programme?

SYSTEMS: How do you manage people and processes in your society? Is there congruence of action within the society? Does these system re-invent or how agile is it? How do you make sure that society’s vision is shared across board? Does this system infringe on people and processes? What is the organizational culture like?

We shouldn’t sit down and wait. The ministries (both national and county) concerned should have policies in place to check on Saccos growth and fund sub-county offices to effectively and efficiently carry out their mandate. Otherwise new kinds of DECI is in the making.

INVESTMENT CO-OPERATIVES ARE NOT NEW BEINGS!!!

Murang’a adopts model to mobilise development funds from the locals

By JOSHUA MASINDE of Daily Nation (FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2014)

Murang’a County has adopted a report by the commission of inquiry on the area’s investment cooperative society popularly known as Shillingi kwa Shillingi (shilling by shilling).

The study calls on the county government to formally adopt the fund mobilisation model by forming a corporation to manage its deals.

The county corporation, as it will be called, is expected to provide a legal basis for managing Murang’a Investment Cooperative Society Limited (MIC) and other schemes that the devolved unit may develop.

“The commission appreciates the nobility of the idea and vision behind formation of the MIC, and its possible huge impact in the economic growth to Murang’a County. It therefore recommends that the county government considers forming a county corporation,” the 14-member tram said in its Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Murang’a Investment Cooperative Society Limited dated February 8.

“Such a corporation will provide a legal and solid platform to accommodate entities such as MIC, and facilitate public-private-partnerships on various economic and development projects.”

MIC was registered on October 1, last year, as a co-operative society under the cooperatives Act. As of January 29, the initiative had recruited 3,000 members and raised Sh4.8 million.

“The commission recommends that the governor communicates and shares his vision both with his executive members and all other elected leaders in the county. This will elicit the support and goodwill of fellow leaders and the general public,” the team chaired by Mr David Ngugi noted.

The move to mobilise funds from the public had caused a stir with the Capital Market Authority (CMA) sending letter to Murang’a governor seeking details. In its letter, the regulator reminded the MIC officials of the various provisions of the law that the model needed to comply with.

The initiative was the brainchild of Murang’a County governor Mwangi wa Iria, who had asked area residents to use the society to save as little as Sh35 daily to fund projects in return for dividend. Audit firm Deloitte and Touché came in as the project managers.

The cooperative society had set a target of recruiting 100,000 people with annual member funds of up to Sh3 billion.

In light of the initiative and on realising a legal vacuum, the market regulator acting chief executive Paul Muthaura said CMA would work with the Sacco Societies and Regulatory Authority to develop a county financing collective investment tool that will provide a framework for capital-raising plans at the devolved government level.

………………………………………………………………

My thoughts:

INVESTMENT CO-OPERATIVEI am surprised by the CMA’s reaction. If they did not know, we have many types of co-operatives registered and are being registered here in Kenya. One of them is an investment co-operative which probably is not known as much as Saccos or marketing co-operatives but they have been in existence. And they are what their names suggest them to be. They raise funds from members and invest. Probably CMA has never heard of Safaricon Investment Co-operative or Stima Investment Co-operative!!

Mr. Paul Muthaura should also know that Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority cannot develop whatever they are seeking as the name rightly suggests it deals with Saccos only as provided for under Sacco Society Act 2008. If they are seeking to develop a county financing collective investment tool, then head to department of co-operatives right next to you in Nairobi!! CMA should get out more I guess and just smell the “investment scene” for a while :-).

I am still beat why they formed the commission though!!

However there will be challenges on management of these types of ventures that are promoted by politicians……they never last. They are spineless like political parties in Kenya!!

REACTIVE LEADERSHIP IN COUNTRYWIDE SACCOs A NAGGING BUG!!

I will refer to this article Will Saccos Die in the Devolved Governments Era I wrote here sometimes back and how the leadership of countrywide Saccos have failed their membership despite the impending difficulties. I had said that remittance could pose a challenge, and it sure did and is still an ongoing challenge. We all read these story Ukulima Sacco freezes staff loans on Daily Nation and you wonder how comes the leadership of Ukulima and other countrywide Saccos did not anticipate this problem and come up with measures to safeguard their members funds beforehand. 

The leadership of co-operatives in Kenya are sometimes laden with incompetence beyond your imagination. Yes, you can see buildings with names of co-operatives written on them and see suited men and women looking important heading to board meetings. But the truth is, most don’t measure to the task. They are ineligible even to attend a baraza in a village.

Devolution was coming. Staffs of certain sectors were to be devolved. We all knew this. News were full of these information. But the leadership just sat there and opted to be reactive. The sane thing to do was to visit all 47 counties and establish a rapport with the salary sections. Provide them with Sacco details and make sure to get contacts of all the 47 counties so that whenever the monies are not deducted as provided for in the deduction list or remitted within the stipulated time as per Section 35 of the Co-operative Societies Act, then you know who to contact and not just sit down and telling your members that you are waiting!!! Get realistic what are you waiting for? Your Saccos to collapse due to impending financial challenges?

GHRISIt is a high time the leadership of the co-operative movement embraced technology. The government through GHRIS (Government Human Resource Information System) has provided (is it functional? Doubt it!!) an online platform where third parties e.g. Banks, MFI, Saccos, etc can login and access their members details. It would have been a relief if they could have used the system to provide deduction list or access individual members and have deductions posted for that particular month. This would have made it easier for county governments who in return would have paid the net salaries to its staffs and paid the various societies their members’ contributions within stipulated time. Things would have been easier and efficient instead of sending deduction lists to the 47 counties……this is where I start thinking if there is anyone out there who matters and has read what I have put here hehehe 🙂 Anyway, that is they way of the future. Cheers.

 

GUIDELINE ON OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT

PURPOSE

operations-management1This guideline is intended to assist the co-operative society enhance productivity through better management of the process of transforming inputs into outputs. The transformation process varies depending on the activities of a particular co-operative society and therefore each co-operative should formulate detailed operational policies that are specific to its circumstances.

SCOPE

This guideline explains how the co-operative can enhance its operations productivity and competitiveness.

RESPONSIBILITY

The board of directors, CEO, management and other staff members of each co-operative society shall be responsible for the design of efficient system that best meets the co-operative requirements.

PRODUCTIVITY

The co-operative should develop an operations system that ensures high productivity. Productivity is a measure of how well an operation system functions and an indicator of efficiency and competitiveness. The co-operative management could improve its productivity through:-

Production System Design 

The board of directors should ensure that the co-operative society has a production system that is appropriate for its activities. Production system design involves making decision about:

  • The product/service to be produced and at what level;
  • How and where to produce the goods/services; and
  • Who to produce the goods/services

The co-operative management and the system designers should simplify designs and come up with flexible, easy and reliable systems. The co-operative should be able to establish ways of making quick changes in the rate of production as the demand for the product/services changes. This can be achieved by training staff to be multi-skilled and adopting flexible work rules.

Job Design

The jobs within a co-operative operations system should be appropriately designed. In carrying out job design the management will have to decide on the person to carry out the various tasks and how the work is to be accomplished. Job design should entail developing clear work related policies on employee skills, employee safety at work place and workplace collaboration.

Operations Plans and Control 

The management of a co-operative society should develop comprehensive operational plans and control decisions on major expense items. Inventory comprising of raw materials, work progress and finished goods is one such item. The co-operative head of operations should maintain inventories at optimum levels by application of inventory management techniques. Where applicable, the co-operative could also strive for just-in-time inventory if possible which minimizes the expense of storing inactive inventories.

COMPETITIVENESS

The co-operative societies exist primarily to produce quality products and services that consumer’s want at reasonable prices. The factors that determine the competitiveness of a co-operative’s products/services include; quality level; quality reliability; and flexibility. These are explained briefly.

  1. Pricing- One of the factors that determine the price of a product or service is the costs of production. The head of operations should keep the costs low to be able to offer competitive prices.
  2. Quality- The co-operative should set quality standards for its products/services in terms of performance, superior features, tolerance and greater durability. The head of operations should ensure that the standards are met. A record of repeat jobs should be kept and used in performance evaluation.
  3. Quality reliability- A co-operative society attains quality reliability through consistent and timely provision of quality product/services. The co-operative management should set quality reliability standards and measure the frequency with which the standard is met.

MEASUREMENTS

The co-operative management should maintain records of the co-operative activities for use in evaluating its productivity. In deciding on the records to utilise, the management should pay attention to the following:

  • Process flow documentation that would help identify the strategic control points, or junctures in the operations process at which major change occurs. Since these points represent potential sources of confusion and inefficiency as work is passed from one set of work to another the management should establish clear forms, records and other documents to be kept at every stage.
  • Efficiency standards should be set to ensure that the co-operative resources are not wasted and to allow for meaningfully interpretation of the productivity measurements. Efficiency goals could be set to include among others: levels of scrap or waste materials; units that have t be reworked; length of time to perform an operation; downtime; time spent retooling  a production line; and time spent waiting for supplies.

FEEDBACK

The board should evaluate the information captured in performance measurement and communicate the results to those involved in the operations process. This is a key control function and involves taking corrective action, changing goals and rewarding high achievers among other actions.

Source: Co-operative society management and prudential guidelines manual developed by VAS Consultants Ltd.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LOANS CLERK IN A SACCO SOCIETY

For those aspiring to work in a Sacco Society, these are the main duties and responsibilities of a loans clerk:
(a) Maintain records of members’ loan applications and approvals.
(b) Scrutinizes loan application forms and agreements to ensure they give accurate information and other particulars.
(c) Guides board of directors meeting and advises them on the loan policy, defaulted loans and recovery methods from the guarantors.
(d) Advices the society on amount of loan to be recovered from each member.
(e) Ensures loan transactions are posted to members’ account and computation of interest earned by each member and society is done as necessary.
(f) Reconciles loans accounts to ensure postings are correctly done.
(g) Attends loans committee meetings.
(h) Ensures adequate supply of stationery.
(i) Ensures sample checking of the correctness of interest calculations on loans and act upon discrepancies discovered.
(j) Follow up list overdue loans and debts and ensure that proper recoveries are made.
(k) Carry out any other duties related to credit administration as instructed by the senior management.
(l) Appraise loans applications before they are forwarded to the General Manager.
(m) Advise the senior manager on defaulting of loans and means of recoveries.
(n) Compute defaulted loans, reveal how much is defaulted and the number of defaulters.
(o) Serve guarantors with letters on defaulted loans.
(p) Maintain records of each members’ loan application and approval, have knowledge of how much is loaned each month and the number of loanees.
(q) Ensure adequate supply of stationery in the department.
(r) Enter necessary data in the loan register
(s) Attend approval of loans by the credit committee.
(t) Ensure that there is proper recovery of loans through updating of statements.
(u) Compute capitalized interest on defaulted loans.
(v) Ensure that refund of loan is properly computed.
(w) Delegates duties and responsibilities in the department
(x) Carry out any other duties related to loans as instructed by the senior manager from time to time.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF CONTROL CLERK IN A SACCO SOCIETY

(a) Designs the internal control systems and procedures of the society.
(b) Advise the board on the weaknesses of the existing internal control systems and procedures.
(c) Ensures that all the policies of the societies are properly implemented and adhered to.
(d) Periodically, prepares internal management report revealing whether the internal control systems and procedures are being followed. This
should be done monthly.
(e) Supervises the heads of sections by getting daily report on the performance of his department.
(f) Delegates responsibilities in his department.
(g) Evaluates the performance of all departments and make recommendations whether the performance is upto required standards.
(h) Carries out induction training to new employees in his department.
(i) Liaising with the external auditor when need arises.
(j) Examines all cheques; cash payments to ensure that NO irregularity in payments is made. Also examine all accompanying relevant documents to ensure that there is genuine authorization.
(k) Examines the final books of accounts to determine whether they present a true and fair view of the financial status of the society.
(l) Prepares leave roaster for the department.

 

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