Regional cooperatives law passed

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on Wednesday passed the East African Community (EAC) Cooperative Societies Bill 2014 meant to provide a legal framework for co-operative societies in the region.

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on Wednesday passed the East African Community (EAC) Cooperative Societies Bill 2014 meant to provide a legal framework for co-operative societies in the region.

The Bill that now awaits assent by heads of state, sailed through on the third reading with a few amendments to reflect relevancy and consistency.

It takes into account Article 128 of the treaty establishing EAC, in which partner states agreed to adopt programmes to strengthen and promote the private sector as the engine of economic growth.

Mike Sebalu (Uganda), who moved the Bill said the new law is premised on the desire by partner states to encourage efficient use of scarce resources to develop all sectors of the private sector.

“The Bill is based on the understanding that each partner state shall undertake to encourage efficient use of resources; and to promote the development of private sector organisations engaged in all types of economic activities, such as the chambers of commerce and industry, confederations and associations of industry, agriculture among others,” reads part of an EALA statement.

Stakeholders such as Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAF), supported the Bill.

EAF President, Phillip Kiriro, said: “Today is definitely a good day for the cooperative movement and this is very exciting news.  I laud the legislators for enacting the key Bill”.

EAF Executive Director, Steve Muchiri, described the passing of the Bill as historic, after a long wait. 

Rwanda Cooperative Alliance boss Damien Mugabo, said that he would consult his minister “for guidance” on how to adjust the national situation to align with the regional law if the Heads of State assent to it.