Story by Tichaona Kurewa
The Registrar of the Cooperative Societies of Zimbabwe says a survey carried out around the country has revealed that most cooperatives around the country are operating above board and productively.
Speaking to the ZBC News in Victoria Falls this Saturday, Mr Thabani Shoko said the department was strengthening training and supervision of cooperatives to ensure strict adherence to corporate governance guidelines.
“Our cooperatives in other sectors are performing very well. If you look at cooperatives in farming, they have contributed a lot of tobacco, some have contributed wheat, and there is a lot of success there. Cooperatives in the financial sector have also scored a big success. People there have managed to serve, are managing to borrow and have funds for their small projects which they normally get from a bank. This sector is doing very well.”
The Registrar however took a swipe at housing cooperatives in Harare for errant behaviour.
“Cooperatives in the housing sector are the contaminant of most of our cooperatives and the problem is only in Harare. Our inspection has shown us that elsewhere the problem is not rampant as it is in Harare.”
The National Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions of Zimbabwe said cooperatives remain the cheapest financing model for the low income earners.
The organisation’s representative, Ms Farai Mtawa noted, “Cooperatives are instrumental in socio and economic development and they have played their role since the 1900s. In the Zimbabwean context, we used to do nhimbes, with numbers we are able to achieve a lot. Credit unions play a very critical role in social and economic development and they also play a pivotal role to ensure that everyone is included in accessing financial assistance. They afford the women and the youth the opportunity to access quality and affordable financial services.”
In 2022, 112 cooperatives were registered in the country, across all the sectors compared to 92 the previous year.
This was a low figure in comparison with the pre COVID-19 era, although expectations are that this year 150 to 1 000 cooperatives will be registered in line with the government’s policy to promote financial inclusion.