Sri Lanka to welcome first National Cooperative Policy framework

Nov 25, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is set to welcome its first National Cooperative Policy framework backed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

There are almost 14,500 cooperatives-in various productions services, SMEs, women’s development, rural banking, insurance and farming sectors-active in Sri Lanka. Through “Coop City” shops, cooperatives are also now present in the country’s FMCG retail sector.

“I thank the ILO for the support extended to our cooperatives sector,” Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said, addressing a consultation session of the cooperatives sector of his ministry held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI).

The session was attended by various cooperative commissioners, district coop officials, Officer in Charge ILO Colombo Indra Thudawage, and Senior Advisor to the Minister, Himali Jinadasa. The session focused on finalisation of National Cooperative Policy and proposed amendments to Sri Lanka’s Cooperative legal framework.

“This work slowed in 2014. We re-commenced this work 8 months ago and I am pleased to attend today’s consultation session to see it progressed this far,” Bathiudeen said.

“These proposals will be submitted to the approval of the Cabinet and then to the Parliament. Previous Coop Ministers tried to amend the Act but could not, but after it was gazetted under me and I took over, ILO came forward to support us to bring our Coop sector to international standards. Today we are seeing the results.”

Sri Lanka’s cooperatives movement that started 112 years ago in the remote village Menikhinna in Kandy District has become a significant economic sub-sector today, taking a role in the lives of rural consumers of the country, a statement from the ministry said.

ILO, the only tripartite U.N. agency, brings together governments, employers and workers from 187 member States to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes to promote “decent work” for all.