Kenya Advances Cooperatives Bill to Bolster MSME Financing and Sector Development

Nairobi – The Kenyan government has proclaimed its determination to foster a conducive atmosphere for the cooperative sector, recognizing its pivotal role in financing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The cooperative sector’s augmentation is poised to be significantly advanced by the enactment of the Cooperatives Bill, which has successfully journeyed through the Cabinet and is now slated for deliberation in Parliament.

According to Kenya News Agency, the government’s commitment was highlighted during the annual Cooperative Leaders Consultative Conference. The Sessional Paper No. 4 of 2020 on National Cooperative Policy, themed ‘Promoting Cooperatives for Socio-Economic Transformation,’ lays the groundwork for the initiatives currently being pursued.

The cabinet secretary reported that the Cooperatives Bill has been approved by the Cabinet and is awaiting introduction to Parliament, post review by the Attorney General. This legislative effort is part of a suite of measures, including the Coffee Bill 2023 and Coffee Policy, which are undergoing legislative processes aimed at revitalizing key segments of the economy.

Chelugui elaborated on the prospective benefits of the Cooperatives Bill, specifically the restoration of the Coffee Board of Kenya and the Coffee Research Institute as independent entities. This separation is anticipated to inject vigor into the growth and development of the coffee sub-sector, particularly in research and market access.

Additionally, the cabinet secretary unveiled that the Sacco Central and Shared Services have commenced operations, with an increasing number of Saccos participating. The Bill proposes the creation of the office of the Commissioner for Cooperative Development and County Director for Cooperatives, marking a significant move towards enhanced regulatory oversight and promotion of the sector.

The principal aim of the Cooperatives Bill, as Chelugui outlined, is to craft a legal framework conducive to a sustainable and competitive cooperative sector. This sector is envisioned to thrive in a devolved governance system, emphasizing uniformity in cooperative standards across counties and the establishment of cooperative governance and ethical conduct frameworks.

Furthermore, Chelugui praised the cooperative leaders for the convening of the conference, noting its effectiveness in uniting cooperative leaders, policymakers, and sector experts. This convergence is designed to evaluate the performance of the sector, exchange knowledge, and drive constructive advancements within this essential segment of the economy.

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