UCA Challenges government to upgrade cooperative colleges

As Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives this year, The General Secretary for the apex body (Uganda Cooperative Alliance Limited) Mr. Ivan Asiimwe, confronted government to upgrade the cooperative colleges to degree and masters awarding institutions in Uganda citing the neighboring countries as models.

The General Secretary made the call on Friday (July 1, 2022) during a Cooperative Symposium at Lake View Resort Hotel in Mbarara City.

“Someone will graduate with a certificate or diploma in cooperative education but because they cannot have the capacity to travel where they can upgrade from certificates and diplomas only to end up changing” he said.

A symposium is one of the key activities that were earmarked for preparation of the celebrations of the 100th International Day of Cooperatives/28th UN International Year of Cooperatives scheduled to take place at Sheema Stadium, Kabwohe Municipality on July 2, 2022.

He wondered how institutions that started recently can offer PHDs and Masters in cooperative education while Uganda which established before are still losing students to other courses.

“Go to Kenya 65 percent of Kenyans derive their livelihoods from cooperatives but what is the percentage in Uganda here? Where is the mismatch? You go to cooperatives employ over 165000 people look at the cooperative movement in Kenya and Tanzania,” Asiimwe said.

In Uganda, the day is organized by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) Limited and co-hosted by Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative Union (ACPCU) and Muhame Financial Services Cooperative Society Limited Ministry indicates.

The symposium attracted several unions and SACCOs country wide including Bugisu Cooperative Union, Wamala growers, Bwavu Kwekulakulanya including banking institutions among others.

Meanwhile, the State Minister for Cooperatives Hon. Fredrick Ngobi Gume has advised co-operators in the country to save in order to increase their capital base.

While delivering his speech, Hon. Ngobi argued that will increases SACCOs capacities to compete with commercial banks do that they can offer loans at friendly rates to their members.

“We should end the system of working for the stomach, some people even to date still earn 10,000 shillings and waste it all hoping to get more the next day,” he said.

In a rejoinder, Minister for Cooperatives, Hon. Francis Mwebesa, said that government has realized the power of cooperatives and is committed to empowering the movement.

“Cooperatives can help us to jointly negotiate prices for agricultural produce to the processors in order to stabilize prices for the diary (milk) among others,” Mwebesa said.

According to Uganda Cooperative Alliance limited for the last six years, the cooperative sector has increased from 6,500-35,000 cooperatives in Uganda covering about over 12 million Ugandans.

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