Income from cooperatives have the potential to continue fuelling the island’s economy.
This was alluded to by Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, last Saturday, as he addressed celebrations to mark International Cooperatives Day, July 6, at the Church Village Green, Central Bank of Barbados, The City.
Minister Sutherland hinted that an estimated US $6.6 million could be generated from the Ross University alone, during the first 12 months of their operation here, and in part from the transport cooperative known as the Barbados Association of Coach Owners Co-operative Society Limited, which was recently formed to help service the university.
While noting that Barbados had 59 cooperatives, which span sectors such as transport, craft, saving societies, investment, financial (better known as credit unions) and agriculture, he said 24 of these were non-financial.
He noted that since June 1, 2018 to present, the cooperative movement had afforded ordinary Barbadians the power to participate in economic activity and generate income “to make a living which in many cases could not exist on an individualistic basis”.
Disclosing that the period June 2018 to June 2019, saw four new cooperatives being registered, the Small Business Minister said these were the Barbados Association of Coach Owners Cooperative Society Limited; the Emerging Brands Cooperative Society Limited; the Farm Connect Cooperative Society Limited and the Cooperative Society Investment Fund Limited.
Commending the new entrants, he added: “These four cooperatives collectively employ approximately 31 persons, although in their infant stage, and have given business opportunities to an estimated 52 members.”
The Cooperative Society Investment Fund Limited, he stated, was registered in August 2018. It comprises five cooperative organizations, including four credit unions that pooled their resources together to form the Cooperative Investment Fund (CIF) Limited.
These are the Barbados Cooperative Business Association Limited, Prudential Cooperative Credit Union Limited, St. Stephen’s Cooperative Credit Union Limited, Shamrock Cooperative Credit Union Limited and United Enterprise Credit Union Limited.
Lauding the Fund, Mr. Sutherland stressed: “The CIF will strive to assist transport cooperatives in accessing credit to enable members to improve their fleet, without discrimination, or even to assist in setting up gasoline or petrol stations around the island.
“It is fitting that this fund should come on stream at this time, since in 2016 architectural plans were prepared for a new gas station and automart at the Barbados Transport Co-op headquarters at Durants, Christ Church to replace the existing facility. Those plans have been approved and the process of raising the finance to start the project has commenced and is ongoing.”
The theme for this year’s celebration was COOPS 4 DECENT WORK, in support of the United Nations General Assembly Sustainable Development Goal Number 8 – “inclusive development and decent work”.