Cooperative CEOs urged to be resilient and follow ethical practices

Delegates during a Cooperative CEOs workshop in Mombasa

Cooperative leaders needs to tap new opportunities like digitalizing their operations to enhance resilience as part of a bigger strategy to tame emerging challenges, business uncertainties and stiff competition from other economic players.

Simon Chelugui, Cabinet Secretary for Cooperative and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) opines that enhancing resilience will empower  the leaders with the necessary skills and strategies to not only withstand adversity but to transform challenges into opportunities for growth and innovation.

Simon Chelugui, Cabinet Secretary Cooperatives and MSMES Development addressing the Annual National Cooperatives CEOs workshop in Mombasa early this week

“Co-operative societies have made tremendous growth since 1960s. More importantly chief executive officers have contributed to the impressive growth. but going by the current global trends and especially stiff competition from other players,  the managers need to pursue  avenues geared towards making their institutions more resilience,” said Mr. Chelugui during the Annual National Cooperatives chief  executive officers workshop in Mombasa early this week. The theme of the workshop organized every year for all the chief executive officers of the co-operative societies by Cooperative Bank of Kenya is “Leading with Resilience.

Chelugui added that the Kenya cooperative movement is leading in Africa both in terms of deposits, asset s and membership and enjoys position seven in the world. Therefore we need transformation leaders ready to maintain the same and as well progress.

Exploiting various openings like the latest technology, product development, enhancing capital build up the CS noted will also ensure that the cooperatives are well-prepared to face future disruptions, maintain member trust and continue contributing to the socio-economic development of their communities.

“Through resilient leadership, cooperatives can become beacons of economic stability and progress in an ever-changing world and the Government is unwavering in its commitment to providing an enabling legal and policy framework for cooperatives to thrive,” Chelugui added.

 The CS for example, mentioned the development of the Cooperatives Bill No. 7 of 2024 which marks a significant milestone in the legislative efforts.  The Bill sponsored by his ministry managed to overcome the last hurdle following an amicable agreement between the Ministry and the Council of Governors on contentious and emerging issues.

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“The new legislation provides a comprehensive framework for the regulation of cooperatives by both levels of government, while also promoting self-regulation within the cooperative structure and enhancing governance tools, and the bill is expected to elevate the cooperative sector to new heights of good governance, increased efficiency, and effectiveness in service delivery, leading to high performance across the board. We have high hopes that the bill will be enacted into law before the end of next month and then launched by the President in July during this year’s Ushirika Day celebrations,” opined Chelugui.

In addition to the legislative agenda, the CS said that the Government is implementing institutional reforms targeting various cooperative production value chains, including coffee, dairy, and cotton.

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Cooperative Bank group managing director Gideon Muriuki said that technical people leading Saccos and other cooperative societies need to adopt innovation business models in order to register impressive results. “Building the resilience of cooperative societies is not a one day achievement but requires the Chief Executive Officer to lead from the front. Further the technical managers need to work on transformation policies and at the same time sustain the same,” said Dr. Muriuki.

Dr. Gideon Muriuki, Group Managing Director and CEO Co-operative Bank

“Cooperative Bank has maintained a tremendous growth for the last more than two decades due to agreeing to regulatory compliance and strict adherence to all prudential guidelines. Cooperative societies need to have a strong governance structure, united board of directors and implementing sound strategic plans,” He added. Muriuki called on the society managers and directors to establish a fully functional transformation division with a key mandate to track and monitor all the transformation initiative and enablers.

The Commissioner for cooperatives David Obonyo emphasized on the need for leaders to adhere to chapter six of the constitution on integrity.  “In the past we have had few institutions struggling with liquidity  and governance issues due to the managers and directors  not adhering to prudential guidelines.  This has culminated to the institutions losing money and other closing down their businesses.  The Government new spirit is that any leader or chief executive manager accused or implicated in funds embezzlement will be subjected to the full force of the law,” said Mr. Obonyo.

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