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Nyagah seeks higher budget

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – The Cooperative Ministry has revealed that it is lobbying Treasury to allocate it more resources in order to ensure the smooth running of its operations.

Cooperatives Minister Joseph Nyagah pointed out on Monday that the ministry controls nearly 50 percent of the country’s economy and as such should be apportioned more resources.

“The movement owns matatus; it owns Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (Saccos), so it cuts across the transport and financial sectors respectively, as well as other industries. So it makes sense in the coming years to progressively allocate more resources to the ministry because for instance, agriculture cannot succeed if cooperatives are not active and well managed,” he argued.

He however declined to divulge further details as to how much the ministry was seeking from their Finance counterparts.

The Cooperatives Ministry is in the process of carrying out a study to determine the movement’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product through many industries such as agriculture.

At the same time, Mr Nyagah said his ministry was still striving to implement reforms in a bid to strengthen the cooperative movement, and they had formed a committee that would be expected to come up with an organisational structure to be adopted by the sector.

“We were in the US a few weeks ago to look into how the American system works and we are confident that this committee will in the next few months produce a structure that we can implement,” he stated.

This, he pointed out would be in addition to the Saccos Societies Bill, which was published in December 2008 and which seeks to streamline the operations of the cooperative movement into a well regulated sector.

Minister Nyagah also disclosed that the government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Southern Sudan, which would among other things see his ministry officials assist in the formation of Saccos and training of staff in Sudan.

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These services, he added, would be free of charge as this was one of the understandings when Kenya helped broker a comprehensive peace agreement in that horn of Africa nation in 2005.

“Kenya was very instrumental in the peace negotiations (in Southern Sudan) and it committed itself to provide capacity for them.  Karen Cooperatives College and the Kenya Institute of Administration are already training some of their officers,” he added.
Mr Nyagah spoke during a ceremony to honour 13 individuals who have contributed significantly towards the growth of the movement in the country.

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