July 2nd, 2016 Sections: News


The first Saturday in July is designated as the International Day of Cooperatives

… and has been ever since 1923, when it established by the International Co-operative Alliance – a non-governmental organization founded in 1895 which represents co-operatives and the co-operative movement worldwide.  In 2014 its membership included 272 co-operative federations and organisations, international and national drawn from various sectors of the economy, from 100 countries and representing almost a billion individuals worldwide.

Co-operatives are “values based businesses” owned by their members who each have an equal say in the business … and an equal share of the profits, whether they are customers, employees or residents.  The normally have a social goals as part of their rationale … and part of their profit is spent in filfilling these aims.

Although the basic idea of cooperatives is quite old … and there are several examples throughout history … the origin of the modern movement was the initiative of a small group of weavers in Rochdale in 1844, who established the first consumer cooperative – The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers. has made the first step towards gaining the working of economic freedom and independence.

In 1992, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution proclaiming “the first Saturday of July 1995 to be International Day of Cooperatives,”

… now, that seems like advanced planning … but there was a reason … because it was intended to commemorate

“… the centenary of the establishment of the International Cooperative Alliance.”

Since 1995, it’s not only been a day celebrtated by the Co-operative movement, … it’s been an officially designated as an international observance by the UN … aimed at focus the world’s attention on cooperatives and promote the development of partnerships between the various interested parties.

Here in Kyrgyzstan, there are something like four thousand cooperatives registered … but, according to some sources, less than ten percent of them actually continue to operate. Most of them are ‘production cooperatives’ – usually in the agricultural sector and seem to be the successors of the large Soviet Collective Farms. There are very few ‘service cooperatives’ (such as supermarkets … ) which are much more common in, for example, Europe.

There are some tax advantages available to coooperatives … they are exempt, for example, from VAT and Profits Taxes … and it has been suggested that this might be one reason why so many seem to exist on paper on … perhaps they were set up as dormant dummy entities intended to take advantage of tax breaks at some time in the future.

As well as tax breaks, cooperatives offer advantages to their members … in providing a variety of services which the individual members might / would have difficulty in providing for themselves. In more general terms, members of cooperatives are considered to be better off than those who aren’t.

Unlike many other forms of buisiness, cooperatives tend to have a better success rate … possibly because the members, whether employees or customers, have a vested interest in it.

As it happens, there masy be more people interetsed in joining a cooperative … but can’t because operationg cooperatoves are few and far between … there just isn’t one nearby to join, That’s one reson that some of the developments projects run by the International Donor Agencies seek to establish cooperatives …







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