Cooperatives that do not meet the required standards or respect the rules and regulations governing cooperatives in the country risk closure.
This was announced on Thursday, by François Nsengiyumva, the Board Chairman, Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA), during a news conference held at RCA head offices in Kigali.
So far, more than 150 cooperatives have been identified for closure.
Nsengiyumva said that a month ago, RCA carried out a nationwide census of cooperatives to ascertain, among other things, whether they were active and working within the confines of the law that was amended last year.
During the census, it was discovered that over 150 registered cooperatives had no physical addresses – one of the requirements.
He said that the cooperatives facing closure include those operating as family entities and others whose managers were the sole beneficiaries.
“All these 150 cooperatives were not operating in a transparent manner …we cannot afford to have cooperatives that are run like family businesses,” Nsengiyumva said.
He said that the primary responsibility of the cooperatives is to transform the lives of the people and in equal measure, but not just their leaders.
The official noted that RCA decided to carry out the evaluation exercise after it was established that some people come up with non-existent names, which they use to obtain loans. They later divert the money for their personal ends.
It was also discovered that some cooperatives had deviated from the original regulations without helping the initial beneficiaries.
According to Nsengiyumva, the majority of the shoddy cooperatives were established shortly after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis when the country was still in the early stages of reconstruction.
“We want to put things back on track. The country has transformed since the Genocide and we need everything to be done in a transparent manner,” Nsengiyumva explained.
He disclosed that currently, there are over 4,500 registered cooperatives countrywide, having increased from 3,000 in 2005, when RCA was instituted.