President Museveni has commended cooperative societies for their role in the socio-economic transformation of communities.
He noted that cooperatives are key in building an inclusive economy which empowers the population to own economic activities that shape their lives.
These remarks were contained in a speech read by the Minister of Trade Industry and Cooperatives, Francis Mwebesa, on behalf of President Museveni, as he officiated the function to mark the 28th UN Day and 100 Years of International Day of Cooperatives at Kabwohe stadium in Sheema district.
President Museveni congratulated all cooperatives upon joining the rest of world to celebrate their day and appreciated the role of Cooperatives in human development and economic transformation.
He referred to the Modern Cooperative Movement in Northern England that provides an affordable alternative to the power of Cooperatives in transforming lives.
He indicated that the NRM Government has been committed to reviving the cooperative sector over the past three decades in recognition of their role in economic development.
He added that Government pledges to support all efforts aimed at creating a Cooperative Bank (Peoples’ Bank) to fill the existing agricultural financing gaps, although he warned against repeating past mistakes that pulled back Cooperatives in the 1990’s.
He said organised Cooperatives have helped Government initiatives to fight poverty when they work along with programs like Operation Wealth Creation and Emyooga, among others.
The Secretary General of Uganda Cooperatives Alliance (UCA), Mr. Asiimwe Ivan, congratulated and thanked the Cooperators upon organizing and celebrating their day world over.
UCA is an umbrella or mother of all Cooperatives in Uganda and was established in 1961.
Its objective is to have all Unions and Primary Cooperatives have one voice by supporting each other.
The Secretary General informed the gathering that Uganda has 11 million cooperators under 31,442 groups.
He applauded President Museveni and government on behalf of all the Cooperators for allowing Cooperatives to exist and for preaching the gospel of cooperation.
“We ask the government with all Cooperators to put back a Cooperative Bank which used to help farmers get some income. We also ask the government to avail more schools for cooperatives education to enable cooperators gain skills,” he requested.
He decried the existence of three regulatory bodies to regulate the work of Cooperatives, saying one is enough.
More than 100 Cooperatives, including Wazalendo Savings and Credit Cooperative Society Limited (WSACCO) attended the event where they showcased their products and services.
These included farmers, savings and Credit services, artwork, among others.
The colorful event was organised under the theme: “Cooperatives Build a Better World” and was hosted by Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative Union (ACPCU) and Muhame Financial Services.
The exhibition was also attended by Minister of State for Cooperatives, Hon Fredrick Gume, and the Minister of State for Trade, Harriet Ntabazi, among other dignitaries.