The Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (Kuscco) is planning to build 120 housing units in Kitengela, Nairobi, this year.
The project, which is expected to take 80 weeks, will commence in a few weeks’ time, according to George Magutu, the Chairman of Kuscco.
“We hope this move will be a great contribution in satisfying the requirements of Vision 2030 on adequate housing,” said Mr Magutu during Kuscco’s 27th annual delegates meeting.
He added that the organisation would continue initiating similar projects to boost its revenues and cushion the Sacco sector from “exorbitant” mainstream financial institutions.
During the meeting, Magutu said Kuscco’s annual turnover increased by 13.5 per cent last year to Sh733.3 million, up from Sh654.3 million in 2012.
Further, he revealed that a task force had been formed to look into how Saccos can be involved in Credit Information Sharing through credit reference bureaus.
“Banks and other financial institutions participate in full file sharing, both positive and negative information. Saccos have warmed up to this idea. The task force will be operational for one year and began their work in January this year,” he said.
The chairman further said that Kuscco had lobbied members of the parliamentary committee on Agriculture and Co-operatives to amend the Financial Act 2013 that requires Saccos to pay 10 per cent in excise duty.
“We believe this is unfair taxation. By definition, Saccos are registered under the Co-operative Societies Act and not under the Saccos Societies Act as stated in the Finance Act,” said Magutu.
He encouraged Sacco members to take up a new product, Kuscco Jiko Safi Loan.
“This is a fund that will enable Sacco members access clean energy and in turn reduce the environmental impact caused by traditional cooking methods,” he explained.
The new product was established with a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Kuscco managing director George Ototo said the union, whose membership is about 14 million has created jobs for over 500,000 people and indirectly supports 1.5 million jobs.
“The current co-operative penetration is growing gradually and is now at 20 per cent and we expect a further 10 per cent of the population to become members of co-operatives,” he said.
In 2013, Kuscco was awarded the World Council of Credit Unions Outstanding Membership Growth in Ottawa, Canada, for the highest growth rate.