Economy, Domestic Economy

Cooperatives Create Jobs, Boost Economy

Cooperatives Create Jobs, Boost EconomyCooperatives Create Jobs, Boost Economy

One of the most important merits of cooperatives is that they provide an alternative to private and state enterprises in which resources are controlled by a minority. This is while cooperatives recognize the right to personal gain within a structure that support each of its members.

Iranian officials have repeatedly voiced a positive outlook toward the cooperative sector, calling it “the cornerstone of Islamic economy,” and the “main source of job creation in Resistance Economy.” Furthermore, the cooperative sector’s share in the national economy was envisioned to be 25% in the Fifth Five-Year Development Plan (2011-16).

However, in reality, the cooperative sector currently has only a 6% share in the national economy, according to deputy minister of cooperatives, labor and social affairs, Hamid Kalantari, and the government has toned down its expectations as it reduced the sector’s envisioned share in the national economy to 15% in the 6th FYDP (2016-21).

Kalantari believes economic development plans expect too much from the cooperative sector.

“The cooperative sector’s share in the national economy has always been meager. We have to bear in mind that the driving force behind any kind of economic activity is to make a profit. The cooperative sector simply lacks this motivation,” IRNA quoted the deputy minister as saying.

Kalantari noted that the cooperative sector’s main potential is in pooling its members’ small capital and giving its lower and middle class members a voice in the economy.

“Creating cooperatives in agriculture, handicraft production and tourism sectors can not only create employment opportunities, but it can also spur economic activities in less developed regions,” he said.

According to Kalantari, the cooperative sector created 18,000 jobs in the first five months of the current Iranian year (started March 21, 2015), and currently 28,000 agricultural, 17,000 industrial and 1,700 mining cooperatives are active across the country.

The International Cooperative Alliance, one of the oldest and largest non-profit, non-governmental international associations for cooperatives, defines a cooperative as an “autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.”