The Government is planning to review cooperative societies Regulations and by-laws and develop Cooperative education to be taught in tertiary institutions.
This was revealed by the Minister of State for Cooperatives Fredrick Ngobi while speaking with journalists about the international Cooperatives day in Kampala on Wednesday.
“The Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives plans to review the Cooperative Societies Regulations and by-laws in line with Cooperative societies amendment Act 2019, work hand in hand with tertiary institutions to develop Cooperative education and training programmes, strengthen Cooperative Management Information System (MIS) and empower and strengthen the district Cooperative offices,” he said.
Ngobi said that Government has undertaken a number of strategies to boost cooperatives including review of National Cooperative Policy, revive cooperatives, compensation for cooperatives that lost assets/ property during the war, strength Cooperative education among others.
Since the last commemorations of the UN day of Cooperatives, the Minister said Government has recorded achievements which include among others amended the Cooperative societies Act 2019 to strengthen the regulation and supervision of all types of Cooperatives, improve safety of savings and credit Cooperatives and enhance sustainability of Cooperative movement.
Due to effects of COVID-19 pandemic, Ngobi called on Cooperatives to digitise operations and adopt virtual meetings.
“In the view of COVID-19, Cooperatives may have to consider and adopt virtual meetings as an alternative to traditional physical meetings, establish management information system platforms, digitize operations and improve management information system. They will also work to review business plans and strategies to respond to the new normal which favours e – meetings and online engagement of members, build capital base and invest in near to liquid ventures,” Ngobi said.
The COVID-19 pandemic measures have had far reaching effects on Cooperatives including delayed Cooperative general meetings, creating governance challenges especially for those whose committees were expiring and had to elect new office bearers, Cooperatives operating with no approved budgets and delayed dividends and bonuses.
The Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives responded by extending Cooperative committees whose terms of office were expiring by close of the financial year until such a time when they will be able to convene general meetings to elect new office bearers following tye lifting of restrictions of COVID-19.
So far, the Ministry has registered 21,454 Cooperatives with 1,488 registered in the year 2019/2020.
The Cooperative movement has diversified in a wide range of economic activities such as agricultural marketing with 9,605 Cooperatives, SACCOS 9,493, multipurpose 1,138, Transport 420, diary 332, area cooperative enterprises 136, Unions 134, fishing 89, Housing 81 and Energy 26.