Adopting Information and Communication Technologies, ICT by cooperatives is crucial for their continued business operations during the covid-19 pandemic, Mpakibi Waiswa Robert, the assistant registrar of cooperatives, has said.
Mpakibi made the remarks on Wednesday 30, June 2021, during the first online Annual General Meeting (AGM) of National Alliance of Agricultural Cooperatives (NAAC)
Mpakibi, who was the guest of honor, noted that many organizations and business entities have shifted online and urged cooperatives to be creative in finding new ways to do their business.
“Doing business has become hard, so we need to get creative and adopt ICT as the best method of doing work. This will also help you eliminate complaints from members of the cooperatives who will feel that they are being left out of the affairs of the cooperative,” Mpakibi said.
Statistics gathered by the Daily Monitor, showed by May 2020, two months after Uganda instituted its first lockdown due to covid-19, at least 614 businesses had shifted online.
Mpakibi revealed that, because of the strong need to work online; the office of the registrar of cooperatives has always given clearance to cooperatives who request to have meetings online, and encouraged all the primary cooperatives to emulate working online.
The president of the Pan African Farmers Forum [PAFO] Nsimadala Elizabeth and that of the East African Farmers Federation (EAFF), also noted that because of the social distance rule due to Covid-19, some cooperatives have not been holding their AGMs and commended NAAC for their strides amid the pandemic.
“We all know that due to the pandemic many organizations and businesses closed down, others have not held their AGMs for more than two years; others have laid off their staffs, but I am happy that NAAC has maintained all the professional staffs,” she said.
A 2020 report by the Ministry of Trade, and Cooperatives, shows that 4,200 companies across the country closed down as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, punctuated with lockdowns.
However, at NAAC, membership grew from 28 to 32 in the past one year, and Nsimadala urged the members to continue giving their full support by paying annual subscriptions, and buying more shares.
During the meeting, it was revealed that NAAC made a net surplus of Shs 52 million , and this year, it presented a budget of over Shs 1 bn.
“Try as much as possible to use every means and network to increase visibility and support for NAAC and nothing will stop it from thriving. NAAC is fully-fledged with experienced leaders, so nothing can stop it from building a strong agricultural sector in Uganda and beyond,” Nsimadala said.
The director of Agribusiness and Marketing Systems Development at NAAC, Ssebuliba Kaziro Harrison pledged that NAAC is ready to help cooperatives who are members of NAAC, with their platform to hold their AGM.
”NAAC is ready to allow all our members to use the NAAC account to hold your own AGMs. Kindly inform us early to make arrangements for you to use our platform,” he said.
NAAC was founded in 2018, as an umbrella organization of all agricultural cooperatives, with the purpose of filling an unidentified gap in access to support services by agricultural cooperatives.
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