Cooperatives Better Off

Cooperatives Better OffCooperatives Better Off

Compared to other private and government economic organizations and companies, the cooperative sector in Iran was much less affected by the multilateral economic sanctions imposed on Iran because of the nuclear dispute, ILNA quoted deputy labor minister, Hamid Kalantari, as saying Tuesday.

"The cooperatives sector deals with the public at large and its economic health and progress is dependent largely on the domestic economy. Thus compared to the challenges macroeconomics and other key sectors were confronted with over the past years in the country, this sector has been relatively less harmed."

 Cooperatives is about team work and nurtures social responsibility among the masses, the official said, noting that the economy of cooperatives is "reasonably steady and sustainable" and retailers, as an example, do not simply shut down their businesses in times of difficulties.

He, however, acknowledged that the problem of joblessness, especially for fresh graduates, persists and is a constraint to national growth and progress. "Developing knowledge-based cooperatives and harmonizing social groups can help alleviate the problem.  Resources for cooperatives are normally provided by the communities themselves and rarely are need of outside help like bank loans. This feature naturally spares them from bureaucracies and their affiliates."

Given the stellar performance and experience of cooperatives over three decades, especially in the rural areas, their status as enshrined in the Islamic Republic Constitution, and their contribution to economic and business growth, the deputy minister urged both the executive and legislative branch to pay more attention to cooperatives.

Article 44 of the Constitution stipulates that the national economy falls into three 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.

However, over the past year the government has officially called for a bigger and more effective role for the private sector to help stimulate the sluggish economy, create jobs and restore normal economic interaction with the outside world.

Senior officials of the government have officially announced that if and when the economic sanctions are lifted in the coming months following a settlement of the nuclear dossier with the six major powers, private enterprise will be accorded a bigger role in the national economy and in Iran's international commercial and industrial relations.

Iran established a ministry of cooperatives in 1991, but it was dissolved by the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2011 in his controversial downsizing programs and merged with the ministry of labor and social affairs.