The Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA) has closed down 55 co-operatives for failing to comply with the agency's regulations.
In an interview with The New Times Thursday, the Director General of RCA, Damien Mugabo explained that the cooperatives were closed following a verification exercise carried out at the end of last year.
"Initially, we had identified about 153 ghost cooperatives, countrywide, but out of this 55 have lost their operating licenses after noticing that they had no physical addresses and had become defunct," Mugabo said.
He said that the 55 include 48 which hadn't engaged in any activity for three to five years. He noted that among them, seven cooperatives had been asked to register with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) as companies after finding out that they were working as companies, and not as cooperatives.
According to Mugabo, RCA also requested 12 cooperatives to change their objectives and missions after finding that they had registered to carry out activities in a particular field but were found to have changed their activities.
"Apart from the 55 cooperatives which have lost their operating licenses, 83 others will be regularly monitored because they also have a couple of performance challenges," Mugabo said. He added that that some of them having been operating without books of accounts saying that they were requested to correct such irregularities to improve their performance and make more profits.
"I encourage members of the cooperatives to own their cooperatives because running a cooperative is like any other business; because the more you own it the more it grows" Mugabo advised. He stated that his organization will put in place a training department to help cooperative managers learn how to run and make their cooperatives more productive.
Statistics from RCA indicate that currently there are about 5,000 cooperative in the whole country.