Cooperatives urged to embrace good governance and transparency

Cooperative societies must be encouraged to embrace new principles of good governance in order to ensure the absence of financial scandals and malpractices. The notion of good governance will help improve public confidence and project a better image of cooperatives in the society.

This was the gist of the speech of the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, at the launch of an informative workshop by the Mauritius Co-operative Alliance Limited (MCAL) on Good Governance for Cooperatives held yesterday at the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development in Phoenix. He was addressing some 100 participants including members of cooperatives, secondary and university students as well as other stakeholders.

Minister Bholah underlined that the core principles applicable in the cooperative sector are transparency, accountability, leadership, cooperation and high ethical behaviour. In the wake of widely publicised financial scandals, there is an increasing urgency to sensitise cooperatives on the need to set up credible and higher standards in order to win back the trust and faith in cooperative entities, he emphasised.

He underscored that Government reckons the importance of the cooperative sector and has undertaken to further strengthen the cooperative movement by providing the appropriate legal, fiscal and policy support. In a bid to eliminate illicit activities in cooperatives, he said that necessary amendments were made to the Cooperatives Act 2005 whereby various loopholes and practical impediments were addressed. The Cooperatives Act 2016, he pointed out, encompasses concepts such as Corporate Governance and Code of Ethics and best practices which must be grounded at the basis of cooperatives.

Speaking of the MCAL, Minister Bholah underpinned that it is the apex body of the cooperative movement regrouping secondary and primary cooperative societies. He pointed out that its function is to reinforce cooperatives and assist them in their operational activities while ensuring the social and economic interests of cooperatives at regional, national and international level.

He commended the laudable initiative of the MCAL and urged cooperatives to avail themselves of all the services offered by this tertiary body. With regard to the workshop, he said that it will help raise awareness of cooperative leaders on good governance and best practices comprising the challenges and associated risks in the financial sector.

For his part, the Chairman of the MCAL, Mr D. Kona Yerukunondu, underscored that the MCAL should be considered as the mouthpiece of the cooperative movement in Mauritius. The organisation, he emphasised, is responsible for facilitating the development of cooperatives through the creation and provision of legal and institutional environment together with adequate support as well as incentives.

He added that there is a great need for cooperative societies to be aware of the MCAL and its various services put at their disposal. The workshop, he stated, will enhance the visibility of the institution and will sensitise the population especially the youth about the relevance of cooperative societies.

Source: Government of Mauritius