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Trade Ministry receives Cooperatives National Policy

Trade Ministry receives Cooperatives National Policy

A National Policy and Strategies for the Cooperatives Sector was formally handed over to the Ministry of Trade and Industry at the Ministry’s Conference hall on Wednesday 29th January 2014. The presentation of the document to the Deputy Minister of Trade, Alie Badara Mansaray is part of many processes that will resurrect the national cooperates sector.

Michael M. Lavalie is the Principal Assistant Registrar at the Cooperatives Department. He informed his audience that the presentation of the policy is in line with the present government declaration policy of establishing, promoting and developing Cooperatives of obvious kinds. “Its basic aim that is more urgent is to fight and alleviate our state abysmal and abject poverty,” he said.

He recalled that government’s support to the cooperatives industry had a very good beginning in the 1950 and 1960s; and it contributes immensely to the production of rice which was enough to feed the people and export the surplus to neighbouring countries like Guinea and Liberia through Rice Corporation. Mr. Lavalie is with a strong conviction that properly organized Cooperatives can address a lot of the development problems of the country; but that much has not been done to make this possible. “With this new dispensation people will create awareness in the community so as to enable all to work together to fight hunger not only in the locality but the whole country,” he said.

He praised one of the Cooperative Credit Unions, Tawopaneh Traders Cooperative Credit Union, which started within thirty members and their membership has risen to 547. With their meager contribution in the form of savings and shares, he pointed out that the Union has extended its activities by issuing loans to non-members.

“These funds were raised mainly from income generating activities of the members.” He concluded by thanking all those that have immensely in making the development of the Cooperative national Policy a reality.

The Consultant of the National Cooperatives Development Policy Project, Kweku Frazer said the document came as a result of a study conducted across the country two years ago on Cooperatives in Sierra Leone. He reiterated that it is the precursor of what will be referred to as the new Cooperatives Act. He praised the Cooperatives Movement in other African Counties has vibrant; but in Sierra Leone, it has fallen up to hard times in the country. “It has to be brought up because it helps to build the economy, bring income to farmers and boost other trade livelihoods,” says Mr. Frazer.

The Deputy Minister of Trade, Alie Badara Mansaray praised the Consultant, which is a group of Sierra Leoneans that did a remarkable job that enhances development. The Deputy Minister recalled that the Cooperatives Sector was a household name in the country; but that over the years bad management, corruption and bad governance collapsed the entire sector.

“Our key element of nurturing development is through Cooperatives. Government will ensure that it does all it can to ensure that the policy will not be business as usual. We will ensure that it is implemented,” he promised.

He told his audience that government will take the document as a key priority and will ensure to address the challenges. The Deputy Minister revealed that key partners have already shown interest in funding the implementation of the policy, which will help in the process of reviewing the 1977 Act. The policy, he said has all the ingredients that will bring about a good Act.

Mr. Mansaray assured the gathering that government will take ownership of the document, which will be presented in cabinet, internalized and the process of reviewing the Act will commence.

Abu Bakarr Kargbo

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