State threatens to de-register Co-operatives

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Robert Sichinga

GOVERNMENT will de-register co-operatives that have not submitted their financial annual returns for 2012/13 by September 30, 2013.
Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Robert Sichinga said Government has set September 30, 2013 as deadline the for co-operatives societies to submit financial reports.
Mr Sichinga said: “My ministry aims to clean up co-operative registry to identify serious and viable co-operatives for socio-economic development.”
“Any non performing co-operative, which will fail to submit these stated annual returns by 30 September, 2013 will be listed as de-registered from the Zambia co-operatives registry.
“The performance evaluation system will help Government streamline support to the serious and viable co-operatives, which are capable of bringing meaningful development in the community,” he said.
Mr Sichinga said this when he officiated at the 28th Zambia Co-operatives Federation (ZCF) annual general meeting (AGM) in Lusaka last week.
The AGM was held under the theme, ‘Setting the stage for the co-operative enterprise development from 2013 and beyond through connecting Zambian producers and markets in agribusiness value chains a commitment to development’.
Mr Sichinga said co-operatives must reposition themselves by becoming viable social economic institutions that will be able to work without relying on Government.
He said Government will provide support to co-operatives that run viable businesses and is capable of paying back loans.
Mr Sichinga urged co-operatives to invest in storage sheds in the productive rural areas in the country.
He said co-operatives must set up strategic value addition ventures in areas of comparative advantage of the agricultural value chains in different parts of the country to increase productivity.
“Strategic projectory of the ministry uses value addition ventures to create a pull for an increase in production and productivity in the agricultural sector,” he said.
At the same event, ZCF president Joel Wampata says low productivity and lack of competiveness is the major challenge the agricultural sector is facing.
Mr Wampata said the co-operative movement can only deliver if it spreads its operations to sectors were great opportunities lie.
“We are confident that we shall compete effectively and favourably with other players in this economy spreading our operations to any sector where such opportunities lie,” he said.

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