Former Vice President Dr Wandera Specioza Wandera Kazibwe addressing heads of Cooperatives in Kampala on the weekend.
Stakeholders in the Cooperative Union Sector under the Uganda Cooperatives Alliance (UCA) have asked government to involve them more in the formulation of the Cooperatives Societies Act (2017) if cooperative business is to regain the popularity it had decades ago.
In a consultative meeting held at the UCA Headquarters in Kampala, the General Secretary of the Alliance Ivan Asiimwe concernedly pointed out a number of “unfair” provisions which if enacted could affect the smooth operation of cooperatives in the country.
One such, he said, is that the new law provides for different organs as the umbrella bodies for cooperatives yet the old (1991) law recognized only UCA as the umbrella body.
“We need the amendment of this law to be consultative enough; to encompass all types of cooperatives,” he said.
Asiimwe added that the law needs to provide for introduction of a cooperative development fund whose management has to be specified.
He noted, “We need a law that will enable cooperatives flourish but not stifle their operations.”
Speaking at the event, former Vice President and a senior cooperator Dr Specioza Wandira Kazibwe stressed that for cooperatives to help the country achieve the 2020 development goals, all funding must be passed through the Apex body, adding that government’s idea of extending support directly to Cooperatives was one of the reasons why many collapsed.
She pointed out for instance that during her time as Vice President, cooperatives were given motorbikes from the government at a cost of Shs. 10million yet the real cost was 3 million shillings.
“In the years I was Vice President, people killed Cooperatives when many resorted to asking for money from the President hoping that microfinance was more successful than cooperatives,” she said.
In a petition the UCA submitted to the Speaker of Parliament on 28th June 2016 , they asked for establishment of a fully fledged, well funded ministry of cooperatives with professionals and functional structures, starting from the grass root level.
In the same petition they asked the parliament to put in place a Cooperative Regulatory Authority to take over control of cooperative activities as it has been done in other sectors of the government.
They also asked government to revamp the Cooperative Bank, set up a separate Parliamentary Committee in charge of cooperatives, convince the President to consent to the East Africa Community Cooperative Societies Bill (2014) which was signed by other presidents in the region; as well as revising on the types of taxes paid by the cooperatives.
, #Wandira Kazibwe