Page 23 - Sacco Star Issue 15
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                                                     ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS

          April is fast                              specified in the Bylaws of SACCO. A quorum         MAKING DECISIONS DURING THE AGM:
                                      approaching    must be present at the start of a meeting
                                 and soon, there     and remain throughout the entire meeting to        Members voting rights are spelt out in
                                 will be need for    validate decisions made. If there is no quorum     Section 19 of the Act while Section 21
                                 Savings and Credit  at any stage of the AGM, members who are           (a) give members the right to participate
                                 Cooperatives        present cannot conduct any official business       in decisions taken at the AGM. The
                                 (SACCOs)            and the Chairman must stop and reschedule it       Chairperson should therefore allow fair and
                                 countrywide to      to a later date.                                   open discussion of all agenda items and
                                 meet members                                                           run the AGM in a manner that encourages
                                at Annual General    HOLD YOUR FIRST AGM:                               decisions. Many AGM decisions may be
                             Meetings (AGMs).        Section 27 (3) of the Act provides that a SACCO    taken by consensus. However, where a
For many SACCO members, AGMs are a                   in the first year after registration must hold     disagreement arises, the Chairperson
fact of life and you probably know that you          its general meeting not later than one month       should invite members to choose by a show
are obligated to participate actively in its         after receipt of its Certificate of Registration.  of hands or through the secret ballot. A
deliberations, reading up on the agenda, turn        At this first AGM, members are required to         decision is thereafter made based on the
up for the meeting on time and so on.                specifically elect the SACCO’s office bearers      majority vote and adopted as a resolution of
                                                     for the ensuing year, determine the maximum        the AGM.
For officials of newly established SACCOs, the       borrowing powers of the SACCO and consider
big question is how to carry out its first AGM       and approve estimates of income and                KEEPING RECORDS:
successfully. Well-run AGMs can be effective         expenditure for the ensuing financial year or
and valuable to an organization’s activities,        part thereof.                                      Records of what happens at the AGM
while poorly run ones are time wasting and                                                              are called minutes and they are kept in a
frustrating when principles of good meeting          The first AGM also allows the members to           minutes book. Ordinarily, members of the
management are not applied.                          appoint a Banker and an Auditor for the            Management Board elect a representative
                                                     ensuing year and transact any other general        as its Secretary in a procedure that is set out
GIVE SUFFICIENT NOTICE OF AGM:                       business of the SACCO of which notice has          in the SACCO Bylaws. Minutes constitute
SACCO members have the right to receive              been issued as prescribed in the Act and in its    an authority for actions taken by the Board
notice in writing of an AGM. Section 27 (4)          bylaws. They also receive reports and decide       and the official minutes are those approved
of the Act provides that an AGM of a SACCO           upon such other matters as may be necessary        by the Chairperson and/or members at the
should be convened by giving at least fifteen        to conduct SACCO business.                         succeeding AGM. This implies that there can
days written notice to the members. This                                                                be only one set of official minutes that is a
period is known as the “notice period” and           PRESIDING OVER THE AGM:                            formal record of decisions taken at the AGM.
does not including the day the notice was            Section 28 (2) of the Act empowers                 It suffices to mention here that minutes are
sent or the day of the meeting. Hard copies          Management Board members to elect a                not a verbatim account of the proceedings
of the notices may be physically handed              Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson from            but a record of what was decided during the
to a member in person or sent by post or             among themselves and the SACCO Bylaws              meeting. Therefore, they should indicate the
electronically. This may be in addition to           provide the procedure for such election.           decision that were reached or whether no
displaying the same in a conspicuous place,          Courtesy of Section 26 (9) of the Act, the         conclusion was reached.
preferably the SACCOs Notice Board or                Chairperson (or in his absence, the Vice
placing an advertisement in the print and            Chairperson) or such other duly appointed          The AGM is an important event for every
electronic media. Failure by a SACCO to              person presides over the AGM. In the absence       SACCO as it is typically the only time during
give the required notice will render all the         of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson           the year when members meet their elected
proceedings at the AGM invalid. However,             assumes the office. If neither is present, the     officials to receive a broad overview of the
if all members entitled to attend and vote           members present may elect a member to fill         SACCO’s current directions and financial
at the AGM agree, the giving of insufficient         the position. A member appointed to act in         health and confirms its purpose. It is also a
notice may not invalidate the proceedings.           this manner is entitled to occupy the position     time to revitalize the SACCO through new
                                                     even if the Chairperson or Vice Chairperson        strategic decisions and official engagement
Though not specifically stipulated in the law,       subsequently joins the meeting. However,           of members into key elected positions.
it is a general practice for notices convening       courtesy usually prevails and the chair is         The Board should therefore ensure that
AGMs to state the date, time and place of the        vacated in favour of the official Chair or Vice    the process adopted for the AGM follows
meeting. The notice should also indicate the         Chair.                                             a structured and logical sequence that
nature of the business to be transacted. All                                                            guarantees decision making.
the major items on the agenda should also            DISCUSS KEY SACCO BUSINESS:
be shown in detail including any resolutions         Section 27 (5) of the Act stipulates that at all   Most importantly, the Board should try
to be proposed. Last but not the least, the          AGMs subsequent to the SACCO’s first AGM,
notice should be signed by or on behalf of the       members have to consider and confirm the           to make its AGMs a positive experience
Management Board.                                    minutes of the last AGM and other reports of
                                                     the Management Board. Similarly, the AGMs          where members leave firmly committed to
FORM A QUORUM:                                       allow members to determine the manner in
The minimum number of SACCO members                  which any available surplus is to be distributed   the goals of the SACCO. It is hoped that by
that must be present at the AGM to make its          or invested, elect the SACCO’s office bearers
proceedings valid is called the quorum. This         and determine, where necessary the maximum         following the guideline charted above, you
number is set by the members and is clearly          borrowing power of the SACCO.
                                                                                                        will now be well on your way to conducting

                                                                                                        both a productive and enjoyable AGM.

                                                                                                        However, like any other skill, successful AGM

                                                                                                        management takes more than knowledge

                                                                                                        and talent. It requires practice. So begin

                                                                                                        working today towards better AGMs in the

                                                                                                        future.  21| SACCO Star Magazine
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