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Over 140 coops in Masindi have expired certificates

MASINDI, May 23, 2024 – At least 146 cooperatives in Masindi district, and municipality have expired certificates, according to the list published by the Ministry of Trade, Industry Cooperatives [MTIC].

Apparently, soldiers who are implementing Operation Wealth Creation [OWC] in Masindi district have been tasked to find out whether the cooperatives in the district exist or not, and make report.

“We started about three weeks ago, and we intend to complete by this Friday. Some of these cooperatives are not in existence while others are active but with expired certificates. Others are naive on what to do,” said Maj. Andeoye Matua who is the in-charge of OWC in Bujenje County.

He said some cooperatives which were formed in the 1970s have never renewed the legal documents. The Registrar of Cooperatives in MTIC is in charge of registering the cooperatives in Uganda

He added that some cooperatives do not even have leaderships, audited books of accounts or  minutes of the annual general meetings [AGMs]. “This means that they don’t even hold annual general meetings. To my surprise most of the cooperatives which have expired certificates are the ones which benefited from the Emyooga programme. We also have those that registered but doing nothing. And there are those we can’t trace at all,” he said.

The official noted that they are working hand in hand with the district and municipal commercial officers to compile the statistics. “After the exercise we intend to call the members such that we have an interaction with the existing cooperative leaders,” he said.

Moses Kalyegira, the Masindi District Commercial Officer [DCO] confirmed to this reporter that the exercise to establish dependable statistics on cooperatives in the district.

In 2022, MTIC 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 had expired to validate their registration status by end of December 30, 2022.

According to the Registrar of Cooperatives, Robert Bariyo Barigye, cooperatives affected were requested to submit amended byelaws, budget estimates, annual returns [audited books of accounts, maximum liability, substantive leaders, and AGM resolutions, for certification, registration or filing.

In the public notice dated November 14, 2022, he also urged 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 indicated in a notice then.

For more information and guidance, Barigye at the time advised cooperative societies to contact DCOs or still contact the registrar’s office in MITC.

Records show there are over 44,000 cooperatives in Uganda, but it is difficult for the government to meet their needs without sufficient information about them.

In the public notice, Barigye added that: “Emyooga SACCOs are advised to contact Microfinance Support Centre [MSC] in their respective zones for the necessary guidance.” MSC manages 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 DCOs. Cooperatives in Uganda are registered under Cooperative Societies [Amendment] Act, 2020.

In mid-March, MTIC launched a digital platform dubbed ‘The Cooperatives Registry Management Information System [CRMIS]’ to fast-track the registration of cooperatives in Uganda.

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 the cooperative Act 2020, as amended, 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.

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