Permanent secretary, Lagos State ministry of commerce, industry and cooperatives, Omobolanle Ogunmola has put the worth of cooperatives in the state at over N150 billion.
Also, in the last one year- July 2018 to June 2019, a total of 150 registered cooperative societies are said to have keyed into government’s encouraged Cooperative Insurance Scheme, with over N55 million paid as claims, bringing the total claims so far since the introduction of the scheme three years ago, to N350 million.
Ogunmola spoke with journalists, Tuesday, as the government, and cooperators in the state, are joining the rest of the world to celebrate the 2019 International Day of Cooperatives. The day is marked every first Saturday of July and meant to create awareness on the critical role of cooperatives in poverty alleviation and economic empowerment of contributors in modern societies.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Coops 4 Decent Work” and falls in line with the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8, which preaches inclusive development and decent work.
With over 10,000 cooperative societies, out of which about 2,000 are said to be actively functional, Lagos ranks top among states in Nigeria with high number of registered cooperatives societies. Out this number, 423 were registered in the last one year.
Justifying the existence of these cooperative societies, Ogunmola said: “Today, in an era when many people feel powerless to change their lives, cooperatives represent a viable economic alternative. Cooperatives are formed to meet people’s mutual needs based on the powerful idea that together, a group of people can achieve goals that none of them could achieve alone.”
She said to allow for easy supervision of cooperative societies in Lagos, the government has recently created three new area offices to bring the number to 20.
Speaking on this year’s celebration, she said rallies are being organised in different parts of the state to raise awareness while the cooperative movement in the state shall be providing boreholes in selected communities to complement government’s effort at poverty alleviation.
“Also, for early inculcation of saving culture in our youth, we have a number of School Cooperative Clubs who would be engaged in a debate,” she said, adding that a raffle draw where a cooperator will go home with a brand new car will also be organised.