The Ministry of Social Protection’s Department of Labour is working on crafting a policy to propel the Cooperative Society movement, Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott said.
This policy will be crafted by the taskforce which was established by Minister Scott to create a blueprint that will see the resuscitation of co-operative societies throughout the country.
There are currently over 1000 functioning co-ops in Guyana, all of which are being audited. “…there are quite a few co-operatives which are way behind with their auditing, some at 2010, 2011, 2012 so that auditing is ongoing. There are a few co-operatives that have a lot of problems and those we are addressing,” Minister Scott recently told the Government Information Agency (GINA).
The Ministry recently hired a consulting agency, which, along with Co-operatives specialist Charles Conway has been engaging co-ops members. The team interviewed the members, conducted a survey and made recommendations relating to the developing of co-ops societies. Minister Scott noted that the recommendations will be given to the task force for revision.
“We are certainly making this a third pillar in this country’s economy…we are giving people faith in the co-ops societies again, it’s more than just a builders’ co-ops, fishermen’s (co-ops), it’s a case where the small man has the opportunity to organise the savings in a meaningful way and now becomes a real man. We are committed to bringing it back on stream, so the taskforce will report by September,” Minister Scott emphasised.
School thrift societies will be re-introduced to teach the country’s children to save at an early age, Minister Scott added.
Hinterland communities will also be targeted, especially Pomeroon farmers and the Rupununi weavers. “The aim of the taskforce is not to look at individual societies, but to look to have a concept to serve all of Guyana,” Scott said.
The Ministry of Social Protection has revitalised the co-operatives department, in an effort to bring back the spirit of cooperativism. Additional staff was recruited, and these have been conducting countrywide research to determine the assets of the co-operatives.
Cooperative societies are a self-generated, voluntary and self-sufficient activity, democratically controlled by its members. In Guyana, cooperatives are governed by the Co-operative Societies Act of 1998, and are supported by the respective co-operatives regulations and policies. Government is therefore tasked with the responsibility of maintaining order and effectiveness in these bodies.