By Ndey Sowe
The Medical and Health Services Co-Operative Credit Union (MHSCCU) overall balance sheet grew by twenty-eight million, four hundred and thirty-eight thousand, nine hundred and ninety-eight dalasi (D28,438,998.00) in 2020 resulting to 25% growth compared to the 2019 figures.
In 2019, MHSCCU’s overall balance sheet grew by twenty-nine million, three hundred and sixty-three thousand, seven hundred and seventeen dalasi (D29,363,717.00) resulting in 35% growth compared to 2018 figures.
The years 2019 and 2020 had been solid performing years for the MHSCCU, with members placing their trust in the credit union. For the year under review, the credit union reported surpluses of three million, one hundred and ninety-six thousand, one hundred and thirty-seven dalasi (D3,196,137.00) in 2019 and three million, four hundred and sixty-three thousand, six hundred and five dalasi (D3,463, 605.00) in 2020.
The MHSCCU Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on Saturday 11th of December, 2021 at its head office in the Kanifing Industrial Area, opposite the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) complex.
The main objective of the AGM focuses on approving the 2020 annual accounts and reports of the board of directors under the theme: “Financial Inclusive for AGM Programme Schedule”.
MHSCCU mission is to promote thrift among credit union members by affording them the opportunity to accumulate their savings, to create a source of credit at fair and reasonable interest rates, and to provide the opportunity for the members to use and control their money in order to improve their economic and social condition.
Its vision is to become a leading cooperative financial institution in The Gambia by providing various products and financial services to members with a view to creating an enviable image in the country.
Malang N Fofana, Chairman of MHSCCU, reminded members that the event was a statutory requirement for all credit unions for the purpose of good governance, accountability and transparency.
“The Company Law requires that the Board should annually report back to the members about the activities of the Credit Union at an organized highly representatives Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the audited accounts of the Credit Union shall be presented and draft resolutions presented for review and adoption or otherwise,” Mr. Fofana stated.
Mr. Fofana added that this year’s AGM was unique as it encompassed audited financial reports for two years; 2019 and 2020.
The threats posed by the Covid-19 pandemic led to the suspension of all public gatherings including the postponement of all AGMs as recommended by the World Health Organization and the Gambia’s Ministry of Health in an effort to control the spread of the disease.
Acting to this, Mr. Fofana disclosed that the registrar of cooperatives directed all Cooperatives Credit Unions to suspend all AGMs in 2020 and for this reason, there was no AGM in 2020.
Mr. Fofana remarked: “As we gathered to reflect on the gains and challenges of the years 2019 and 2020. I wish to remind all that as a Credit Union we are an autonomous association of members united voluntarily seeking to meet our common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations premised on the principles of collective’s ownership and democratic processes”.
Moreover, Mr. Fofana revealed that a new multipurpose branch will be opened at Talinding Kunjang which shall provide all the Credit Union services, including money transfer and cash power sales to members and the general public.
“In our pursuit towards making the Credit Union’s loan products more affordable and competitive, the Board has reviewed the monthly interest rate of 1.25% applied to the special loan and is now reduced to 1.15% monthly,” Mr Fofana said, adding that the board has proposed streamlining all loan interest to 1% monthly effective January 2022 pending approval from the general membership.
Lamin P. Fofana, Treasurer of MHSCCU, disclosed that it is the treasury team’s responsibility to report to the board and to members on the financial affairs of the credit union. He said the audited financial statements were prepared on the bases of international accounting standards and financial reporting standards.
“As the accounts have shown, revenue generated through interest on loans amounted to D9,229,463.00 for the year 2019 compared to D7,830,051.00 for the year 2018 resulting in 13% growth in revenue generation. For the year 2020 revenue generated through interest on loans amounted to D12,901,185.00 reflecting a growth of 28% compared to 2019 interest income results,” treasurer Fofana explained.
Fofana added that net operating income grew from D5,725,839.00 in 2018 to D9, 702, 686.00 in 2019, representing 40% growth in net operating income. He said the year 2020 registered net operating income of D12, 093,127.00 compared to 2019 values of D9, 702,686.00 representing a growth of 20%.
“For the year 2019, the credit union has registered a net surplus amounting to D1, 125, 927.00 for the year 2018 resulting in D64% growth in surplus. In the fiscal year 2020 surplus was D3, 463,605.00 resulting in 8% growth compared to the 2019 surplus,” he said.
He was quick to remind members that the devastating effects of Covid-19 had also affected the operations of the credit union and its loan recovery activities.
Agnes Njie Gomez, General Manager of MHSCCU, attested before the general members that the completion of the complex has enhanced their working environment greatly as well as the commissioning of a new office in Bansang and Farafenni and the refurbishment of the EFSTH office.
Mrs. Gomez said: “With the recruitment of more staff, the turnaround time at any of our service delivery points has greatly improved and this has been commended by many of our esteemed members.”
Gomez reaffirmed that they are committed to making their credit union the largest in the Gambia, where members will continue to benefit from a wide range of products and services that are competitive but of high quality.
She thanked the board, the supervisory committee and all other committees for the support they are providing to the staff of the MHSCCU and to the members for always patronizing their very own credit union.
Florence Mendy, representing the Director General of NACCUG, said the theme for this year’s AGM was timely and apt because it’s in line with global trends.
Mrs Florence therefore urged the board and management to be willing to mobilize the available resources necessary for financial inclusion while members must be willing to embrace and support the changes that will facilitate this inclusion as they come.
Representing the Gambia’s Health Minister, Dr. Mustapha Bittaye, Director of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, applauded the MHSCCU for the laudable work towards mobilizing the available resources necessary for its membership.
Meanwhile, this marks the 21st Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the Chairman, Treasurer and the Independent Auditor give reports to the general membership for accountability, transparency and good governance.