The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has said Government is committed to the re-establishment of the Cooperative bank as one of the deliberate interventions aimed at accelerating the development of the cooperative movement in the country.
Dr Rugunda said the Bank will ease the financing of agricultural production and marketing, adding that a seven-man committee has already been named by the cooperative movement to work with Government commencing this financial year.
The Premier made the remarks at Mbale Cricket grounds on July 1, 2017, where he represented President Yoweri Museveni during celebrations to mark the International Cooperatives day.
Dr Rugunda said Government was committed to continue providing the necessary policy environment and support to ensure that the cooperative movement is strengthened.
The theme for the 95th International Cooperative day and 23rd United Nations day of Cooperatives was inclusion: Cooperatives ensure no one is left behind.
Rugunda hailed the positive trend in registration of cooperatives from 937 cooperatives in 2011 to over 1000 in 2016. The membership of cooperators to date is estimated at 6 million persons up from about 3.9 million persons in 2011.
Dr Rugunda said the recently announced 10-year tax exemption on Sacco’s was aimed at strengthening capitalization as well as affordable financial services to the members.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde said her ministry is implementing the rural industrialization project which supports cooperative societies to acquire value addition equipment and training programs for enhancing skills in business management and value addition.
The Chairman Bugisu Cooperative Union, who was also the host, Nathan Nandala Mafabi said the country can achieve a middle income status by 2020 if people join cooperatives adding that Government should invest in cooperatives to create jobs for the youth and also improve the economy.
Dr Rugunda earlier on launched coffee value addition equipment for Bugisu Cooperative Union, including a coffee taster and grinder. He also handed over awards of recognition to individuals who have significantly supported the cooperative movement.