The New Times (Kigali)

15 February 2013

Rwanda: Drive On Co-operatives Due Next Week

Rwanda Cooperative Agency will, next week, embark on educating the public on how best to operate and benefit from cooperatives and Sacco's.

This campaign comes after recent findings established that although the government is calling upon the citizens to join cooperatives, there is limited knowledge by members to effectively run them.

"When we encourage people to join cooperatives, our main objective is to guide them on how to fight poverty through income generating activities," said Damien Mugabo, the head of the agency.

During a meeting that brought together vice mayors in charge of economic development, Mugabo called on local leaders to play a leading role in their respective areas to ensure that cooperatives serve the intended purpose.

This meeting also discussed measures that should be put in place to improve management of cooperatives to avoid embezzlement of funds, especially by heads that are expected to control and lead members.

There have been reports of embezzlement of funds from various cooperatives in the country.

Last year, an audit by RCA indicated that in the months of July and August, 169 people, including top managers, were named as suspects after Rwf 200 million went missing in 28 cooperatives.

RCA reports also indicated that top managers of cooperatives are fond of using members' savings and capital to carry out their personal businesses, something that is against the principals of financial management.

Claudine Uwineza, the spokesperson of the Vice Mayor's forum argued that issues affecting cooperatives are basically caused by members who do not know their rights, commending the forthcoming campaign.

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