Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister, Joseph Mwanamvekha, has emphasised that regulatory framework should not create unnecessary barrier and deter development of saccos in the country.
Opening the 7th Africa Sacco Regulatory Framework Round Table conference in Blantyre on Monday evening, he, however, hailed the role of regulators, saying “they exist to ensure positive improvement in management, adherence to good cooperate governance; and existence of risk management practices to bring about improved performance”.
“Honestly, I personally feel sad when I hear that the regulator is closing a sacco because it has failed to meet certain standards. While this could be an option, I believe we can use regulation to provide capacity building for saccos so that they are able to meet the standards,” he said.
Liquidation, he said, must be the very last resort after all efforts to resuscitate any sacco have failed.
“This is where I start thinking that regulation must be tailored to size so that saccos can be grouped in categories based on size. The ‘One size fits all’ approach to regulation does not favour the small ones; regulation must nurture small ones until they are able to comply with standards in the spirit of financial inclusion,” Mwanamvekha said.
Mwanamvekha warned that if the regulation would not bear his reasoning in mind, it would be difficult to build sustainable saccos in the rural areas, where majority of people live.
He, however, stressed that the country, and indeed Afr ica, needs proper framework adherence so as to protect peoples’ money.
The regulatory framework round table brought together regulators and sacco experts from several countries in Africa, including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, The Ghambia, Zambia, Seychelles, Ghana and Botswana.
Chief Executive Officer for the African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Association
[Accosca], George Ombado, said in the past years, Africa’s development and growth had been adversely affected by the shortage of implementation of best governance practices across most industries.
“It is for this reason that Accosca jointly with other stakeholders felt it necessary to provide a platform that regulators in Africa can help chart the way for this industry,” he told the meeting.
Mwanamvekha added that since their first such meeting in Kenya in 2011, the grouping has had successful annual meetings hosted in countries that have established Sacco specific regulatory framework, Malawi inclusive.
Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives [Muscco], Sylvester Kadzola hailed Mwanamvekha as a minister who had a passion for the growth of the savings and credit cooperatives in Malawi