Cooperatives & Communities

MTIC issues deadline for co-ops to validate registration status

KAMPALA-The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives [MTIC] has issued a compliance notice to all cooperative societies in Uganda, requiring those whose probationary certificates are due to expire in three months or less or have expired to validate their registration status by end of December 30, 2022.

According to the Registrar of Cooperatives in MTIC, Robert Bariyo Barigye, cooperatives affected must submit amended byelaws, budget estimates annual returns [audited accounts, maximum liability, substantive leaders, and annual general meeting [AGM] resolutions], for certification, registration or filing, after AGM.

In the public notice dated November 14, 2022, he urges cooperative societies to hold AGM after the end of the financial year. “Please note that the DGM must be held within 3 months after the end of the financial year,” he writes in a notice.

For more information and guidance, Barigye advises cooperative societies to contact District Commercial Officers [DCOs] or still contact the registrar’s office in MITC. Records show there are over 30,000 cooperatives in Uganda spread across all the regions of the country

In the public notice, Barigye adds: “Emyooga SACCOs are advised to contact Microfinance Support Centre [MSC] in their respective zones for the necessary guidance.” MSC is in of management of Emyooga SACCO funds.

According to MTIC website, cooperative societies pay a registration fee of Shs 50,000 on top of buying copies of cooperative byelaws at Shs 15,000 for SACCOs and Shs 10,000 for multipurpose byelaws.

Cooperative societies are also required to get a recommendation from the district cooperative/commercial officers.

Cooperatives in Uganda are registered under Cooperative Societies [Amendment] Act, 2020.

An application for registration of a primary society must be signed by at least thirty people qualified for membership. In the case of a secondary society, it must consist of at least two registered primary cooperatives. Tertiary and apex cooperatives must consist of at least two or more secondary societies respectively.


According to officials, for a cooperative to be permanently registered, it must be first registered on probation for a period not exceeding 24 months. Where the registrar is not satisfied with the performance of the cooperative at the expiration of 24 months, he or she may either cancel the registration or extend the probation for a period not exceeding 12 months.

“If after the extension he or she is still not satisfied with the performance of the cooperative, the registrar of Cooperatives shall cancel the registration. In case membership falls below the required minimum number, the law empowers the registrar on his or her own motion, by order in writing, to cancel the registration of a cooperative. This applies to both probationary and permanently registered societies.”

Cooperatives benefit from regulations acknowledging their specificities and ensuring a level playing field with other types of business organisations. The absence of a specific legal framework for cooperatives or a weak legal framework may damage cooperatives, while in contrast a supportive regulation may allow their development, experts say.

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