The Ministry of Economy informs the Cooperative sector about its vision and strategies for the next 50 years
Translated By: Benoi Nair
H.E. Abdulla Bin Touq, UAE Minister of Economy, held several meetings with representatives of the cooperative sector in the country. During his visit to the headquarters of Union Coop, His Excellency met with H.E. Majid Hamad Rahma Al Shamsi, Chairman of Union Coop, in the presence of H.E. Khalid Humaid Bin Diban Al Falasi, CEO of Union Coop and SULTAN AL GHAITH, Board Member of the Emirates Cooperative Society, while His Excellency met during his visit to the Sharjah Cooperative Society, His Excellency Saeed Sultan Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the board.
These meetings come within the framework of the Ministry of Economy’s keenness to strengthen the frameworks for partnership with cooperative societies and to develop the existing partnership between the government and the cooperative sector per the principles of transparency and effective communication.
His Excellency Bin Touq briefed the representatives of the societies on the ministry’s vision and strategy for the next fifty years and discussed with them ways to elevate the sector to reach a global cooperative system that competes with international best practices, and opportunities for the sector to grow and become a major attribute for the national economy and fulfil the country’s developmental policies and the growth of the non-oil domestic national product in line with the strategy of the country to diversify the income sources of the national economy.
His Excellency Bin Touq said: “The cooperative sector is an important attribute of the national economy and a strategic partner for the government in achieving development goals and implementing government strategies concerning markets and the consumer environment in the country. During the exceptional circumstances imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector has demonstrated its pivotal role in ensuring the market balance and discipline and the availability of the basic goods and support the strategic stock of the country, and anchoring the concept of social responsibility, which contributed to the stability of the markets.”
His Excellency added: “Cooperatives are one of the main drivers of the nation’s economy, as they operate according to parallel trade concepts based on the culture of savings and social investment. We have informed representatives of the sector about the ministry’s plans for the next phase and discussed all solutions that will help in overcoming the obstacles and challenges that affect the markets and the ease of goods can reach consumers, and we will be keen to continue cooperation and partnership during the next phase to accelerate the growth of the sector and enhance its contribution to the growth of markets and supply chains, and the application of the strategic inventory policies and activity of the overall business environment. ”
His Excellency discussed with representatives of cooperatives the ways to enhance the sector’s role in sustainable development and support its contribution to the strategic stock of basic commodities under the policies and strategies issued in this regard, and to empower the business environment to give a more competitive edge to cooperatives, develop and update the cooperative sector policies and diversify its fields and activities, which contributes to encouraging the establishment of cooperative societies and developing the values and principles of cooperative work model.
During the meetings, Bin Touq discussed ways to improve legislation and laws regulating the work of cooperative societies in the country, His Excellency listened to the views of those in charge of consumer cooperative societies on developing this sector, creating opportunities for its expansion and promoting its growth, and ways of cooperation to address any challenges it faces.
His Excellency explained that the Ministry of Economy continues its efforts to enhance the cooperative sector in the country in a way that anchors its position in the national economy, stressing the importance of the role that cooperatives play in promoting the process of sustainable economic and social development in the country and ensuring active and stable markets with a social return that contribute to the prosperity of society as a whole, as well as for its contribution to the growth of the country’s non-oil GDP.
For his part, H.E. Majid Hamad Rahma Al Shamsi, Chairman of Union Coop, said: “Consumer cooperatives in the country have proven their importance as national economic entities, especially through their role in preserving the country’s strategic commodity stock and following long-term strategic plans in terms of providing goods and enhancing inventory stocks. In addition to working with the concerned authorities and providing material and moral support to reduce the effects of the pandemic, economically or socially, Union Coop has launched many initiatives and programs in partnership with official and private bodies to contribute to confronting the pandemic and enhance national recovery efforts.”
Al Shamsi added: “Union Coop has been working since its inception to stabilize prices and provide products in the market, as it plays a vital role in preventing monopoly and contributing to the continuation of the flow of goods in a manner that ensures market balance and creates a state of product sustainability,” indicating that cooperatives play a social role along with the economic role by benefitting all segments of society from its services and initiatives.
Al Shamsi stressed the importance of strengthening the partnership between the cooperative sector, the Ministry of Economy and the various relevant government agencies, especially through the continuous revisions of laws and legislations that regulate the work of consumer cooperatives in the country and allow them to innovate and achieve expansion and spread further, noting that the UAE’s experience in the field of cooperatives is among the most successful experiences in the region and has broad prospects and potentials for development during the next phase, in a way that competes with the best international practices and experiences.
It is noteworthy that the number of cooperative societies in various forms in the country reached by the end of 2019 about 42 societies, including 20 consumers, 13 fishermen, 7 associations in other fields and 2 cooperative unions, with a total of 250 sales outlets, and capital amounting to AED 3.1 Billion, and net profits at the end of the year 2019 amounted to AED 940 Million. By the end of 2019, the number of Shareholders in cooperatives reached about 95,000 citizen shareholders or members, while the volume of community support provided by cooperatives to improve local communities reached AED 46 Million, according to 2019 data.