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President urged to assent to Cooperative Amendment Bill 2016 as nation gears-up for International Coop Day

KAMPALA, Uganda: This year’s Cooperative Week Celebrations have been launched with a call for immediate assenting to the Cooperative Amendment Bill 2016 by the President.

The week long event was launched by the Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Minister, Hon, Amelia Kyambadde yesterday.

The theme of this year’s celebrations to be marked on July 6 2019 at Wakiso District headquarters is “Cooperatives for Decent Work”.

The International Coop Day event will be co-hosted by the teachers’ Walimu SACCO and the Cooperative Insurance Company Limited (CIC).

Other partners supporting the weeklong celebrations include; Uganda Cooperative Alliance, The Uhuru Institute for Social Development, and the International Cooperative Alliance.

Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde revealed that they had invited President Yoweri Museveni to be Chief Guest at the main celebrations to be held at the Wakiso District Headquarters playground.

Addressing the press at the Uganda Media Center, Hon. Kyambadde said the weeklong event will start with National Prayers with the Muslim Community on Friday, 28 June 2019 at Old Kampala Mosque, and across all mosques country wide.

On Saturday, June 29th, prayers will be held by all Seventh Day Adventist churches countrywide, with main celebrations to be conducted at the Seventh Day Adventists Community at Makerere Church (opposite LDC).

On Sunday, 30th June 2019, National Prayers with Christians will be held at Rubaga and Namirembe Cathedrals and through the National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches across the country.

The countrywide cleaning of markets kicks off on Monday 1st July with the climax of the activity to be held at Nakawa Market led by Hon. Amelia Kyambadde.

The coop week event will also involve the National Tree Planting Campaign to kick-start on Tuesday, 2nd July in Gomba.

National Country wide blood donation starts on Wednesday, 3rd July 2019 spearheaded by the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service in Constitutional Square in Kampala, St. Balikudembe Market and Ham Towers in Kampala.

There will be a Medical Camp in Wakiso District Headquarters as well as a sports Gala, a Cooperative Symposium and Exhibitions at the Wakiso District Council Hall on Friday.

Call for revival of Cooperative bank

Leonard Okello, the Chief Executive Officer of The Uhuru Institute for Social Development says that the 2019 Cooperative Week comes amidst an increase in the number of cooperatives being registered, and argues that the efforts towards rebuilding the businesses of the older unions should remain a key focus of cooperatives and Government.

Addressing the press on the sidelines of the launch, Okello argued: “ The government should finalize the War Losses compensation to the Cooperatives Unions so that such resources can be used to capitalize their businesses.”

He noted that Cooperatives continue to suffer the closure of the Cooperative Bank, and called upon the government to put in place an alternative: “Government should consider availing a fund that can kick start the reestablishment of the cooperative bank by giving priority to the original shareholders of the bank,” he said.

When contacted, Kyambadde noted that the government was aware of the plight facing Cooperatives and that the revival of the Cooperative Bank was one of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Tourism, Trade, and Industry that debated the Cooperative Societies Amendment Bill (2016): “All the necessary paperwork is being worked on, and it may take us like two years to revive the Cooperative Bank,” said Amelia.

Mr. Okello called for increased regulatory oversight over Cooperatives, noting that it was important to stave off corrupt tendencies that could be fatal for cooperatives.

“This can be achieved through reestablishing a fully-fledged Cooperative Ministry, with skilled staff and a sizeable budget that can increase national outreach,” he advised.

The International Cooperatives Day is marked every first Saturday of July around the World, and it has been annually marked for the last 97 years.

The Uhuru Institute for Social Development works with Cooperatives, Government, MDAs, Development Partners and private businesses to advance and apply the cooperative business model in pursuit of inclusive socio-economic development.

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