SoS Faye opens SACCO congress

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fatou Lamin Faye, secretary of state for Basic and Secondary Education, Tuesday, presided over the opening up of the Savings and Cooperative Credit Association’s 9th Technical Congress, on behalf of President Yahya Jammeh, at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.

The four-day meeting brought together 400 delegates from 17 countries across the world, including experts in various aspects of savings and credit cooperation management. During the four-day deliberations, delegates would be discussing wide ranging issues affecting the development of the savings and credit cooperative organisations.

The meeting, hosted by the National Cooperative Credit Union, The Gambia (NACCUG), would also create a platform for the delegates in sharing knowledge and experience as well as improve understanding between the SACCOs members at national, sub-regional and regional levels.

In her keynote address, SoS Fatou Lamin Faye informed the gathering that credit unions in The Gambia are working hard to meet the needs of their members, adding that the statutory requirement of savings of 25% of net surplus to reserve is an important legal requirement, but that it must be effectively retained to support future emergencies. On the other hand, she added that, purchasing of non earning assets needs to be carefully studied to avoid eroding the liquidity positions of the credit unions.

"Your duty to improve corporate governance, increase outreach and product diversity in your credit unions will be one of the strategies to sustain them. That way, you would be able to project your professionalism and probity which are part of the operating principles of credit," said SoS Faye.

She then reaffirmed The Gambia government’s recognition of the important contributions of the Irish League of Credit Union Foundation and the other credit unions in Ireland.

Bakary L O Sonko, director general of NADA, described the theme , ‘My credit union, it belongs to me,’ as fitting, hence it reflects the spirit and culture of ownership and control in cooperative organisations. "It is the spirit of togetherness between cooperative members which is the strength of cooperatives as voluntary self-help organisations, owned and controlled by the members," he said.

According to him, cooperative credit unions are part of the Micro-finance sector of national economies that provides financial services to its members, adding that the members are the owners as well as the users of the cooperatives, and that as such, they save their monies with their credit unions when they are not needed and withdraw or borrow from the union where the need arises. 

For his part, Edward Demba, chairman of the Board of Directors of NACCUG, recalled the numerous support by President Jammeh towards the union. He then emphasised the importance of the conference, noting that it was an annual event hosted by one of the member countries that serve as avenue for providing interaction and building of capacity through sharing of experiences. He said credit unions are making a lot of differences in the lives of their members, especially in the areas of education, health, agriculture, and housing and in small and medium enterprise development.

Halimatou Jallow-Jaiteh, the treasurer of NACCUG, who delivered the vote of thanks, saluted the delegates for honouring the invitation and assured them of the government’s commitment to upholding the union’s progress.

Present at the opening ceremony were honourable Sheriff Gomez, secretary of state for Youths and Sports; honourable Fatim Badjie-Janeh, secretary of state for Communication, Information and Information Technology; and Mr Bamba Saho, Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia. Mr Baboucar O. Joof, the director general of NACCUG, chaired the occasion.

Author: by Musa Ndow & Adama Kah