Minister of Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga-Phiri says savings and credit cooperatives (Saccos) are a foundation for development in Malawi.
Speaking after touring Mudi Sacco in Blantyre and Thyolo Teachers’ Sacco in Thyolo, he said the cooperative model helps people save and borrow from a pool of common resources.
Said Katsonga-Phiri: “People save their money with Sacco and they go back to borrow the same money to do a variety of projects. That’s why I am saying the Sacco savings model is a foundation of serious development in Malawi.”
The minister said he was impressed with the level of organisation in the Saccos and the cultivation of a saving culture.
He said lack of a saving culture is one of the factors that have plunged people into poverty.
“Saving culture is a problem in Malawi. People believe in getting their money and spending it, this to a certain extent, contributes to our lack of development because development comes with money which individuals save,” said Katsonga-Phiri.
Mudi Sacco board chairperson Stanley Mpaya said the minister’s visit raised the Sacco’s profile and accorded them a chance to raise challenges that the cooperatives face in their operations.
Thyolo Teachers’ Sacco board chair Fortunate Chanza said his organisation is steadily growing.
Both Saccos cited delayed remittances as one of the challenges impeding their operations.
“Remittances are like fuel for cooperatives. Without remittances, we cannot operate,” said Chanza.
Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives chief executive officer Fumbani Nyangulu said the minister’s visit provided an opportunity to showcase the potential that Saccos have in providing services to Malawians.
Malawi has 41 Saccos that are registered with the Reserve Bank of Malawi.