The chairman of the National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions of The Gambia (NACCUG) has disclosed that the union's savings during the period has increased from GMD757 million in December 2015 to GMD818 million in December 2016, representing a growth rate of 8.1%.
"In effects, GMD67 million was registered as growth in savings representing 44% of the annual target," he stated.
Edrissa Bojang made these remarks at a local hotel, in Senegambia, during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the NACCUG. The theme for this year's AGM was; 'Credit Union-The Authentic Difference'.
He added that during the period under review, membership has grown from 67, 947 in December 2015 to 70, 584 in December 2016, representing a growth of 3.9%. "This represents a net growth of 2, 637 members representing 18% of the annual target of 15000 members."
He said for the past 24 years, credit unions in The Gambia have signified their existence by helping members in various sectors such as agriculture, education, health, construction, entrepreneurship among others.
Chairman Bojang noted that NACCUG continues to enjoy fruitful relations with her traditional partner, the Irish League of Credit Union Foundation (ILCUF). The current partnership, he said, focuses on the implementation of the current Irish Aid funded project, which aims to promote economic growth and inclusive development by building sustainable member owned financial service for poor rural communities.
The chairman further explained that the Board and Management have finally taken the decision and signed a contract with Protech Construction and General Trading Ltd. to construct a car park and a training facility at the NACCUG's grounds.
For her part, the NACCUG Board Treasurer Sirrah Jammeh, said the investment portfolio of NACCUG has increased from D53.1 million to D82.5 million in 2016, translating to cover 55% increment. "These investments are held with the Central Bank of The Gambia Treasury Boards and other reputable commercial banks in the country for better returns," she added.
Under current assets, the NACCUG board treasure added that the portfolio stood at D99.4 million as compared to D73.1 million in the previous year. She said the cash and bank balance also amounted to D8.4 million as startup funds for the incoming year and also liquidity support to credit union and that the debtors' portfolio has increased from D1.6 million to 8.2 million in 2016.
The registrar of cooperatives, Aba Sankareh who doubles as the director of Agric Business, said the government of The Gambia recognizes the role that credit unions play in ensuring the development and cohesion of Gambian society as its activities were in line with the development policies of the government.
Pam Mchugh, from Irish League of Credit Unions Foundation, who doubles as the guest speaker of the occasion, spoke at length on the significance of the forum, and the relations that exist between its foundation and NACCUG for the past years.
She urged NACCUG to continue on its effort and also to support the women in its quest to address poverty particularly among rural women.
Representing the governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, Siaka Bah, deputy director Microfinance, said it's important to note that the credit union has grown over the years by mobilizing membership, thus increased its savings. The Central Bank, he added, would continue to collaborate with NACCUG in supporting it to achieve its fundamental objectives.