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Nepal tops all on number of cooperatives

KATHMANDU: Nepal has more cooperatives than its neighbors and any developed countries in the world.
The country has unexpectedly high number of cooperatives given its population and size of the economy, said Shashi Kumar Lamsal, Deputy Registrar of the Department of Cooperatives (DoC).
The United States of America (USA), the biggest economy in the world, has about 5684 cooperatives by the end of 2017. About 112.6 million people are involved in those cooperatives. Similarly, India has 2,705 cooperatives catering services to 20 million people and Bangladesh has only 888 cooperatives that involve 547,000 people.
Australia and Canada have even less cooperatives with 79 and 567 respectively. 4.2 million people are associated with cooperatives in Australia and 102 million in Canada.
But Nepal has more than 34,000 cooperatives with 6.5 million members.
Bangladesh has 165 million people while Nepal has only 29.96 million. It shows that Nepal is the country with highest per capita cooperative institutions. Nepal has considered cooperaives as the third pillar of the economy along with the public sector and private sector.
Cooperatives activists and experts are demanding the merger of the cooperatives in Nepal.
Minister for Land
Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Padma Kumari Aryal has suggested that in the initial years, the operators and board members of the cooperatives should voluntarily go for merger with another institution with similar objectives, coverage area and member base.
She suggested to bring down the number of cooperatives to one third of the existing numbers, about 10,000-12,000.
The National Planning Commission (NPC) has said in its current five-year Periodic Plan that the investment contribution of cooperatives to the economy should be increased to 5.4 per cent.
The plan mentions that in order to achieve 9.6 per cent growth rate the country should invest about Rs. 9229 billion in the next five years and the cooperatives sector should contribute Rs. 496.8 billion.
“Therefore, merger and creation of more powerful and transparent cooperatives should be the government policy,” said Lamsal. The Cooperatives Bylaws 2075 maintains that the cooperatives that have the same working area and nature of work can go for the merger.
But, cooperatives that were registered before 15 May 1992 in the name of Sajha cannot go for merger without approval from the ministry.

Published Date: Saturday, August 24th, 2019 | 09:37 PM

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