Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr. Lola Akande on Tuesday said disclosed that the asset base of cooperative societies in the state has reached N33 billion, with two million membership.
She also disclosed that 2,359 Cooperative Societies have been revalidated across the state.
Akande spoke at a news conference to mark the 2021 International Day of Cooperatives in Lagos held at the State Government Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
She said the International Day of Cooperatives is celebrated on the first Saturday of July every year as established by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and embraced by the United Nations (UN) to increase awareness on cooperatives and promote the movement’s successes and ideals of international solidarity, economic efficiency, equality, and world peace.
The commissioner stated that this year would be the 27th celebration of the International Day of Cooperatives recognized by the United Nations and the 99th International Cooperative Day, as the Day fell on Saturday, July 3, 2021.
She said it was in consonance with today’s reality of the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the planet and the need to mitigate the devastation, that the theme for this year’s celebration “Rebuilding: Better Together’’ has been chosen.
“The message being passed across here is that Cooperatives around the world will showcase how they have managed the COVID-19 pandemic crisis with solidarity and resilience.
“It is pertinent to mention that Cooperatives are enterprises based on ethics, values, and principles. Hence, through self-help and empowerment, reinvesting in communities and concern for the well-being of people and the world in which we live, Cooperatives nurture a long-term vision for sustainable economic growth, social development and environmental responsibility.
“Cooperative day is the occasion to spread and emphasize these values. Through #CoopsDay, local, national and global policymakers, civil society organizations and the public in general would learn about the contributions of Cooperatives to a just future for all.
“The International Cooperative Alliance says 12 % of humanity are Cooperators, representing more than 1 billion people from 3 million Cooperatives worldwide. In Lagos State, 2,359 Cooperative Societies have been revalidated with a membership of about 2 million people and an asset base of over N33 Billion as Lagos State contribution to the global Cooperative Movement,” Akande said.
She said last year, the State would have celebrated the International Cooperative Day elaborately as was its usual tradition, but that due to the pandemic, the celebration was scaled down and that it eventually took place in February this year.
The commissioner disclosed that in line with re-investing in and concern for the communities, the ‘Concern for Community’ projects were cited at Ikorodu, Lagos Mainland and Ajeromi – Ifelodun areas of the State as part of the 2020 International Cooperative Day celebration.
“Boreholes were done as requested by the communities. In addition, awards were also given to the Most Outstanding Cooperative Unions and Cooperatives that rendered their accounts and conducted their Annual General Meeting (AGM), on time to serve as reward for good performance.
“It is also imperative to reiterate that Cooperatives are governed by laws which regulate their activities and there are sanctions attached for flouting such laws. Consequently, the Ministry has worked tirelessly with the Ministry of Justice to review the Cooperative Law to produce an adequate Law that encapsulates Cooperative activities while also meting out commensurate and appropriate sanctions to those who flout the law to serve as a deterrent,” she stated.
Akande said the new Cooperative Law has scaled the 3rd reading at the Lagos State House of Assembly and was presently awaiting Governor’s consent.
She also disclosed that the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives between June 2019 and June 2021 successfully registered a total of 969 new Cooperative Societies which translated to reduction of poverty.
On activities lined up for the celebration, Akande said the celebration had been flagged off with the press briefing, while on Thursday July 1, 2021, there would be Concern for Community Projects, when community projects are commissioned.
“This year we are also commissioning Boreholes at Ibeju Lekki, Badagry & Ikeja as requested by the communities. On Friday, July 2, 2019, there will be Jumat Service at the Alausa Mosque, while on Saturday July 3, 2021, there will be Panelists Discussion (Rebuilding Better Together), viewing of Commissioning of Concern for Community Projects and Exhibition by MSME Cooperators, with the Special Guest of Honour, being the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu,’ she said.
Akande said the celebration would be rounded off on Sunday July 4, 2021 with thanksgiving service at Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa.