The Special Adviser, Bureau of Rural Development and Cooperative, Mrs. Ekemini David Umoh has lauded the Prudential Cooperative Microfinance Bank (PCMFB) and the Akwa Ibom State Cooperative Federation (AKOFED) for taking over the onerous responsibility of financing cooperative societies in the state after the collapse of the defunct Cooperative Development Bank (CDB).
She stated this in Uyo during the 2017 World Cooperative Day with the theme “Putting people at the Centre of Development” on Saturday.
Mrs. Umoh said cooperative is big business worth trillions of dollars because there are 2.5 million cooperative societies with over one billion cooperators globally, noting that “unfortunately the only financial institution that could finance this initiative in our part of the country, the Cooperative Development Bank went under, but we are grateful to God that PCMFB and AKOFED have filled the gap by providing finances for several cooperative societies”.
Maintaining that cooperative societies are very active in Akwa Ibom State with over 2000 registered and have been empowering a lot of people who had hitherto lost hope, she urged PCMFB and AKOFED to continue the good gesture of offering financial support to enable cooperatives continue the laudable task of creating wealth and shutting the doors of poverty in Akwa Ibom State.
Explaining that in Akwa Ibom State cooperative societies engage in manufacturing, fishing, trading, ICT, transportation and many other sectors, she noted that there were too many portfolio carrying cooperators in the state who do not produce or deal in any tangible thing.
“It is sad that not all registered cooperatives in the state are doing any kind of business, some of them exist to solicit for grants from government. This attitude should be discouraged. On a whole though I make bold to say that serious minded cooperators in Akwa Ibom State are very enterprising and have done things worthy of emulation” she stated.
Mrs. Umoh said because of the giant strides of cooperatives in the state, Bayelsa State government sent a team to understudy the Akwa Ibom cooperative model and have by their experience set up a Bureau of Rural Development and Cooperative in Bayelsa, similar to what exists in Akwa Ibom to drive cooperative business.
The Special Adviser maintained that the Gov Udom Emmanuel led administration has placed high premium on cooperative in the state by offering active cooperative societies free loans and infrastructure. Commending the wife of the governor for supporting cooperative societies, she said, “Mrs. Martha Emmanuel provided facilities in rural areas to boost cooperative societies, has given loans to women in various local government areas in the state and more are coming” noting that it is unprecedented in the history of cooperative development in Akwa Ibom State.
“The Governor’s wife recently inaugurated a lot of cooperative ventures in the state. These include inauguration of cassava processing factory in Ibiono Ibom, inauguration of fish and sea food factory in Upekekang, Ibeno LGA, inauguration of palm oil processing factory”. Mrs. Umoh noted.
Explaining that cooperative societies are veritable sources for economic empowerment, she called on all Akwa Ibom people to embrace it and join.