Jan 4, 2013, 9:36 AM
The commemoration, attended by government officials, staff of NACCUG and their members, was characterized by march-past led by the police band.
In his welcoming remarks at the KMC ground where the celebration was held, NACCUG general manager Babucarr Jeng applauded and appreciated the country for celebrating the day.
According to him, the celebration aimed at highlighting and drawing attention to the positive contribution credit unions make every day in the lives of their members and their communities worldwide.
He noted that International Credit Union Day is celebrated all over the world in recognition of the many positive contributions credit unions have made in the lives of millions of their members around the world.
“This year, the Global Credit Union Committee has chosen the theme, ‘Credit Union Unite for Good: A Better Way’ and activities designed to celebrate ICU day different from country to country but the cooperative spirit and benefits it brings to members form the guiding philosophy behind each celebration,” he said.
He added that the Gambia Credit Union movement continues to be a force to reckon with in the powerful global network of 56,000 credit unions in 101 countries that serve 200 million people worldwide.
“As a movement we have brought the provision of collaborative financial services to the doorsteps of over 62,000 people spread along the length and breadth of our beloved country The Gambia,with a savings portfolio of GMD510 million and loans outstanding of GMD414 million as at end September 2013,” he said.
For his part, NACCUG chairman Baboucarr Fatty said that over the past twenty-two years credit unions in The Gambia have signified their existence by helping members in various sectors such as agriculture, education, construction, entrepreneurship, and imports and exports.
According to him, the community’s commitment and positive economic and social change are just some of the ways credit unions differ from the traditional for-profit banks and financial institutions.
Speaking on behalf of the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, the director of micro-finance at the Central Bank, Bai Senghore, said this year’s theme was apt.
Credit unions, he noted, are unique financial institutions proudly and innovatively putting people before profits.
According to him, their focus is on serving their members and mostly offering higher deposit rates and lower interest rates on loans.
In his statement on behalf of the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Social Development Fund general manager Sonko B. Fofana said the ministry of finance attaches great importance to the contribution of financial institutions including credit unions, in enhancing the economic and social needs of the citizens.
In The Gambia, he said, credit unions also continue to transform the social and economic status of their members, enabling them to advance from the underprivileged class to the home-owner class by providing affordable terms and conditions for access to loans to finance a wide range of economic activities. “As credit unions are financial institutions their support to the informal sector of the economy is really commendable and in line with the government’s overall strategy of promoting financial inclusion and wealth creation,” he said.
The minister of agriculture, Solomon Owens, reiterated the crucial and pivotal role credit unions within the cooperative movement have played in the socio-economic development of many nations throughout the world.
According to Minister Owens, this recognition prompted the United Nations General Assembly in its Resolution 64/136 of December 2009, to declare 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives.
He noted that co-operative impacts poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.
Mayor Yankuba Kolley of KMC praised credit unions in the country for their achievements, whilst applauding NACCUG for choosing his office for the celebration.