Cabinet approves amended law on cooperative societies

Bugisu Cooperative Union (R) is an example of a cooperative society. According to the Trade ministry, by July this year, there were 16,507 cooperatives in the country. COURTESY PHOTO

What you need to know:

Aim. The new law is meant to enhance transparency.

Kampala. Cabinet has approved the amendments in the law that governs the operations of cooperative societies, with clauses that consolidate, strengthen and enhance monitoring of such associations.
Speaking to Daily Monitor on Tuesday, the public relations and communications officer, ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Ms Hadijah Nakakande, said with the new amendments, leaders running such associations will now be subjected to term limits and strict controls aimed at enhancing transparency.
“Each term in office comprises two years. And for those whose term could be extended will not run again (for a third term) thereafter as the law puts a cap after serving for two terms that does not exceed four years,” she said.
Also, instead of anybody heading a cooperative society as it were the case before, it is now mandatory for a member wishing to lead such association to be a person held in high esteem, possess undoubted integrity and above suspicion, let alone being successful and a model.

Streamlining management
“The amendments streamline the management of cooperative societies with term limits for the leadership of all societies. It also sets minimum academic qualifications for the managers of societies,” reads a statement issued by the Trade, Industry and Cooperatives ministry public relations and communications department.
The statement further reads: “This will help to address the leadership and governance wrangles that have marred cooperative societies and hindered their performance.”
Worth noting is that the amended law will apply to all types of societies, including savings and credit, housing, transport, agricultural, marketing, energy, health, consumer and industrial societies. This is different from the old law which only catered for agricultural cooperatives.
In an interview yesterday, Uganda Cooperative Alliance general secretary Leonard Msemakweli said he is not aware of the approved proposals.
On the term limit, he is said he would have preferred a three-year term and a maximum of six years. He said: “What is needed is a progressive legislation that will allow fresh lease of life into the associations.”

Tit bits

Role of cooperatives. According to Trade Industry and Cooperatives minister Amelia Kyambadde (pictured above), cooperatives play a significant role in economic development, especially in rural areas by promoting local resource mobilisation through savings and investments that ensure inclusive economic growth.
Numbers. Speaking at a recent sector review, she said by July this year, there were 16,507 registered cooperative societies in the country. In the financial year 2014/2015, the ministry registered 936 new cooperatives of which 539 are Savings and Credit Cooperatives and 267 agricultural marketing cooperatives.

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