MINISTER for Agriculture, Prof Adolf Mkenda, has advised cooperative unions to employ qualified staff with high integrity to safeguard the interests of farmers and ensure efficiency.
Speaking before the handover of five vehicles and 70 computers to deputy registrars of cooperative unions, Prof Mkenda said having qualified members of staff, especially in key departments was very much needed to restore public trust.
Prof Mkenda said fraud and misappropriation of public funds in cooperative unions placed a big burden on farmers’ shoulders.
He added that embezzlement scandals in cooperatives unions were like cracks that needed to be sealed by recruiting qualified and decent staff members.
“We have one astonishing case whereby TRA claims some money from a cooperative union at the expense of the supplier who is supposed to settle it and worse still the name of the supplier is not mentioned in any documents of the cooperative union. This is sabotage,” he said.
Citing the last Cooperative Audit and Supervision Corporation (Coasco 2019/20) from July to December last year he said 43 cooperative unions were audited, 20 unions received doubtful certificates, 12 were unsatisfactory certificates and 11 received poor certificates.
Non among them received a satisfactory certificate. He added that 3,374 cooperative unions were also audited.
Only 34 among them received satisfactory certificates that showed a need to recruit highly skilled accountants to help the unions to regain public trust.
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For his part, Registrar of Cooperative Societies -cum- Executive Director of Tanzania Cooperative Development Commission (TCDC), Dr Benson Ndiege, said currently cooperative union members were not active enough especially in decision-making.
“Members are not participating in elections, selling their products or accessing loans from their unions. We are working hard to make them discharge their duties for the development of their union,” he said.
On that occasion TCDC provided 4 vans worth 275 million to Njombe, Kilimanjaro, Simiyu and Dar es Salaam cooperative union while one used van from TCPD headquarters handed over to Kigoma Cooperative Union.
TCPD also delivered 20 laptops to deputy registrars and 50 computers donated by CRDB Bank expected to boost the efficiency of cooperative unions.