The Covid-19 pandemic has brought forth economic hardships and it is critical that the cooperative sector is redynamised and reinvented to be able to contribute to the economic revival of the country.
The Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, made this statement, this morning, after a meeting held with the representatives of the Mauritius Cooperative Alliance Ltd and Cooperative Federations. The aim was to discuss initiatives and actions required to improving and re-engineering the Cooperative movement.
The Minister underlined that the Cooperative movement has contributed to the socioeconomic development of the country since its setting up. Today, some 903 cooperative societies, regrouped under 14 different federations, are considered as active and dynamic institutions that are operating in different sectors, he indicated.
He also dwelt on key measures undertaken over the last six years in the cooperative sector. They include: establishing principles of good governance and transparency; providing training opportunities at the National Cooperative College; and offering assistance for enhanced productivity.
Furthermore, Minister Bholah highlighted the importance of elaborating an Action Plan so that the cooperative sector is able to operate productively and contribute to boost our economy. He reiterated his ministry's determination to help contribute to the economical revival of the country.
Key highlights of the Action Plan are:
Re-engineering of the 12 Regional Cooperative centres, that includes investigating the status of existing cooperatives societies, between active and dormant ones, to ensure maximum productivity;
Re-engineering the operations of the Mauritius Cooperative Alliance Ltd to boost its performance and create more visibility and synergy, as well as increase output;
Redynamising the St Pierre Hub for emerging projects;
The National Cooperative College will introduce new training programmes and affiliate with other institutions, including UOM, UTM;
Cooperatives stores will be called upon to take more initiatives to open retail outlets;
Retrieval of unutilised lands from cooperative societies; and
The National Productivity and Competitiveness Council will provide assistance to Cooperative societies to enhance management and promote good governance, as well as adopt digital technologies.
As for the President of the MCA, Mr K. Brunet, he highlighted that the MCA will implement the ministry's Action Plan that was agreed upon during the meeting. In addition, he reassured that the institution will extend its full support to all Cooperative societies in order to revitalise and reinvent the sector.
He also recalled that the MCA is implementing key actions in line with the expectations of the ministry, in particular to bring more transparency and innovation such as e-commerce; to adopt a strategy of proximity with cooperatives; and to create a synergy among them. The aim, he added, is to boost our contribution in the country's GDP.
He also announced one project in the pipeline, which is the Cooperative insurance for the benefit of cooperatives.