The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Gume Fredrick Ngobi has called upon the government to position Cooperatives in the Parish Development Model(PDM) a head of the 100th International Cooperative Day celebration.
The theme of this year’s celebrations is “Cooperative Build a Better World” which is an endorsement that cooperatives are key to building an inclusive economy for all.
According to the statement, Hon. Ngobi said that to achieve the National Development Plan goal of increased Household incomes and improved quality of life of Ugandans, Cooperatives should be positioned in PDM.
Hon. Ngobi says Parish Development Model (PDM) is the new delivery mechanism for improving incomes and welfare of Ugandans at household level.
“21.4% of our people live in absolute poverty, according to the Uganda National Household Survey of 2019/20 (UBOS 2020) and majority of these households earn their livelihoods from hand to mouth,” read part of the statement.
The government has on several occasions tried to address these challenges through implementation of a number of interventions that include the National Agricultural Advisory Services, Entandikwa, Bona Bagagawale, and the ongoing Emyooga program. However the problem has persisted and majority of rural community households still live in absolute poverty.
However the state minister outlined seven pillars to be followed if the National Development Plan goal is to be achieved.
Production, infrastructure and Economic services, financial inclusion, social services, community mobilization, mindset change and crosscutting issues, Parish Development management information system, Governance and administration.
The cooperative movement collapsed in the 1990’s largely due to mismanagement, but also political interference, which the current management vows to avoid.
He says that for this, some wealth creation programs like Emyooga have faced many issues.
He proposed among others, that creation of a cooperative bank must be fast-tracked as this will go a long way in streamlining management especially if it is able to raise money from the members themselves.
He states that the main causes of the collapse of especially SACCOs include poor leadership and governance, inadequate capitalization, lack of trust among members, lack of access to reliable markets and as well as adequate storage, post-harvest handling and Agro processing infrastructure.
Others are massive frauds by management staff and committees, high level of dishonesty, lack member knowledge in cooperative issues, political interference from local politicians, as well as different interests like borrowing without saving.
According to records at the Cooperatives department, there are currently more than 27,000 cooperative societies, up from 6,000 10 years ago.