Economy, Domestic Economy

Cooperatives’ Potential Yet to Be Exploited

Cooperatives’ Potential Yet to Be ExploitedCooperatives’ Potential Yet to Be Exploited

Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, Ali Rabie on Wednesday called for the development of the cooperative sector in line with the policies of “resistance economy”, noting that cooperatives have “the potential to improve living standards.”

“The cooperative sector can create jobs and lead to the fair distribution of national wealth,” the minister said, addressing the annual meeting of cooperative workers in the capital Tehran, ISNA reported.

Article 44 of the Constitution stipulates that the national economy falls into three categories of public, cooperative and private sectors. It explicitly underlines the role and significance of the cooperative sector when it reads that public sector operations should be limited to a certain extent and that the private sector is complementary to the public and cooperative sectors.

The government of President Hassan Rouhani has allocated 5,500 billion rials ($159 million) in the next budget to stimulate the cooperatives sector.

According to deputy minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare, Hamid Kalantari, nearly 3,360 cooperatives have been established during the first ten months of the current year (started on March 21, 2014). Reports also suggest that the cooperative sector has exported $1 billion worth of commodities so far this year.

  In Search of ‘True Status’

Observing the importance of cooperatives in wealth distribution, mobilizing the resources and reducing poverty, the deputy labor minister called for promoting cooperatives to help them achieve their “true status” in the economy.

Speaking at the meeting of Iran Central Chamber of Cooperatives on Tuesday, Kalantari said the 100,000 cooperatives in Iran operate across more than 120 sectors of the economy including agriculture, housing, production and retailing among others, IRNA reported.

Under the Mehr housing scheme, 2.5 million houses have so far been constructed and delivered through cooperatives, said the official, adding: “One million women are employed in more than 10,000 cooperatives across the country.”

  Mismanagement, Lack of Collaboration

A senior official at the ministry of cooperatives, labor and social welfare, Hamdollah Rostami, said on Tuesday that the cooperative sector suffers from mismanagement.

“Lack of a proper management forced many cooperatives into bankruptcy,” he was quoted by Mehr news agency as saying. He also criticized lack of collaboration among different cooperatives, calling for “communication networks” to be established in order to promote further interaction.

Rostami described the cooperative sector as a “movement” that is well-developed in many countries. The official also called on the government to minimize its role in the cooperatives.