By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City
Edo State Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives, like her counterparts across the globe, , has finalized plans to mark its maiden International Day of Cooperatives between July 2nd and 3rd, just as it describes it as the life wire of the nation’s economy.
The Commissioner of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon Afishetu Braimoh, disclosed this in a statement issued to newsmen in Benin City.
She said the unique aspect of this year’s edition of the International Day of the Cooperatives is that, it is the 100th year of celebration with the theme,” Cooperatives rule the world”.
Hon Braimoh said, essentially, the International Day is aimed at increasing public awareness of the role of cooperatives, promoting the movement’s successes as well as the ideal of international solidarity, economic efficiency, equality, and world peace.
Braimoh said the ministry has listed a series of activities earmarked to mark the day to include exhibition of cooperative products and services.
The commissioner said other activity is the engagement with various stakeholders and members of the public.
She said at the engagement with stakeholders, the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, would be conversing directly with the people about the efforts made so far to strengthen the cooperative movement in the state.
Speaking further, she said her ministry is focused on reinvigorating the cooperatives movement, having realised its pivotal role in jump-starting the local economy as well as promoting the “Made in Edo goods and services” policy of the state government.
She added that the governor has never hidden his love and passion about ensuring these efforts come to fruition.
While speaking on the importance of Cooperative Societies, she said it is the “life wire of the nation’s economy”.
She further noted, “If you talk about the benefits of being in a cooperative, they are numerous, but a few examples would suffice here: for instance, we know it is practically impossible for one or two persons to form a cooperative, however, a minimum of 10 can form one and register it with the ministry.
“Once they do so, they are then able to support one another financially, build capacities, sustain their immediate community’s, and easily access grants and loans from global organisations. Most importantly, they become critical to the success or otherwise of our *Made in Edo* export promotion.
“You need not be educated to be a member of a cooperative society. All you have to do is to come together as a group of 10 or more, irrespective of whether you are domiciled in the rural or urban centers. We are digitalizing the process of registration so that they do not have to come to the ministry anymore.
“At the touch of a button, they can get their cooperative movements registered online. The ministry has trainers, verification teams, and others who can be deployed on-demand to render technical support.
“Also, we issue certificates once you are registered with the ministry and such certificates can also serve as collateral for loans”,she said.
She also enjoined individuals and groups who wish to tap into the benefits accruable from being members of a cooperative to take advantage of the July 2nd activities to learn more about steps on how to get their cooperative society or movement registered as well as other activities of the ministry.