Story: Benjamin Makafui Attipoe, Sogakope, Volta Region
The Solvent Co-operative Credit Union (SOCCU) Limited at Sogakope in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region has made great strides in its performance over the last two years including the proposal of a dividend of fifteen (15) percent on minimum shareholding, the highest by any Credit Union (CU) so far in the Volta Region, including the year 2022. Shares amount of SOCCU increased by 44.2% while members’ savings grew by 33.03%. Total income and total assets also went up by 41.55% and 34.66% respectively with an income surplus standing at 31.03%.
Board Chairman of SOCCU, Mr. Romeo Hademe made these disclosures at the 18th Annual general Meeting (AGM) of the Union at the Comboni Centre Auditorium at Sogakope.
The meeting which was under the theme, ‘Cultivating the Culture of Savings: the Role of Credit Unions’, attracted more than six (6) hundred members of the Union from all walks of life.
Representatives of some financial institutions in the area such as the Agave Rural Bank (ARB) Limited at Akatsi, as well as delegations from sister Credit Unions (CUs) like the Joy CU at Juapong in the North Tongu District, Progressive CU at Anloga in the Anloga District, Winners and Ultimate CUs at Akatsi in Akatsi South Municipality, Trustworthy CU at Adidome in the Central Tongu District, Evergreen CU at Tadzewu in Ketu North Municipality as well as the Sitsofe CU at Keta in the Keta Municipality, were heavily represented at the AGM.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors disclosed that the reserves of SOCCU has increased by 17.81% from Ghc391,434.81 in 2021 to Ghc461,135.25 in 2022 with a difference of Ghc69,700.44. Mr. Hademe also added that membership of the Unions and groups increased by 24.03% from 6,970 in 2021 to 8,645 in 2022 with a difference of 1,675 members.
According to Mr. Hademe, even though the last quarter of 2022 witnessed an unfavourable business climate in Ghana due to government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP)(Haircut), which impacted negatively on the investment of many individuals and organizations, SOCCU was not only strategic in its operations but also rose above the unfortunate crisis.
Mr. Hademe mentioned the opening of a new branch of the Union at Adutor to cater for the financial needs of members and prospective members in the catchment area, a solid liquid position to support prompt disbursement of loans to all qualified applicants, support to some communities under SOCCU’s corporate social responsibilities as well as the acquisition of a work station to house the Accountant and Field Co-ordinator, as some of the successes chalked by SOCCU during the period under review.
The independent auditor’s reports as well as committees’ reports from the loans and supervisory committees, were also presented to the members at the meeting for discussions.
The Regional Chapter Manager of the Credit Unions’ Association (CUA), Mr. Ignatus Agamah commended the management, staff and members of SOCCU for moving from their poor performance status sometime back to their excellent status in recent years, culminating in the impressive declaration of fifteen (15) percent dividend on shares for 2022, the highest in the Volta Region among any CU in recent years.
Regional Chapter Chairman of CUA, Mr. Reedakor Doe stressed the need for SOCCU members to be fully interested in the development and growth of the Union, adding that they should not hesitate to approach the executives anytime they have any issues about their Union.
Board Chairman of the Sitsofe CU at Tadzewu in the Ketu North Municipality, Mr. Felix Afekortu lauded SOCCU for its modest achievements over the years and underscored the need for members to repay their loans on time not only for others to have their turn but also strengthen the financial base of the Union.
The District Director of Education (DDE) for South Tongu, Mrs. Celestine Esi Korsi-Agordo was the Guest Speaker. Touching on the theme of the AGM, Mrs. Korsi-Agordo noted that the role of CUs in providing traditional and financial literacy, valuable resources, workshops as well as seminars to equip members, cannot be over-emphasized.
According to her, CUs have not only won the confidence and admiration of many Ghanaians especially those in the rural areas but also thousands of petty traders, artisans, civil servants and small-scale businessmen and women.
The DDE stressed the need for the youth and the young ones to cultivate the culture of savings, adding that such a positive attitude would greatly impact on their lives and finances in life. ‘The young ones should not be carried away by societal influences. They should be cautious because temptations can be high and destructive’, Mrs. Korsi-Agordo intimated.
Earlier in a welcome address read on his behalf, the Principal of the Comboni Vocational Technical Institute at Sogakope, Mr. Harry Peter Adjimah announced that the school, through its realignment policy, has become one of the Ghana Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) schools, adding that the Institute has more than two thousand, five hundred (2,500) students, running thirteen (13) engineering and vocational programmes.
Mr. Adjimah urged students to look out for supportive and innovative institutions like SOCCU in order to realize some of their dreams through access to their policies and financial schemes.
A female staff of SOCCU, Ms. Cynthia Gbadago later trilled members and dignitaries with a wonderful and thought-provoking poetry recital on the need for all to make little savings in life.