The president, Akwa Ibom Finance Prudential Cooperative Association (AKFIPCA) Arc. Ubokutom Nyah has urged cooperators not to have a poverty mentality and continually go to government cap in hand to solicit for financial support.
He stated this during the 2017 World Cooperative Day organized in Uyo by the Bureau of Cooperative development on Saturday.
Arc. Nyah who was the Chairman on the occasion said that “cooperative business is elementarily understood to be an autonomous association of people, institutions and governments who voluntarily come together (cooperate) for mutual social, cultural but mostly economic benefits. I have maintained the viewpoint constantly that it is a misconception, an aberration and wrong definition when cooperators wait on government to provide money for cooperative business. It is totally wrong to conceive cooperatives as an association of poor people and therefore solely for poverty eradication. It is better to understand cooperative for what it is, a business form aimed at wealth creation and multiplication for all levels of society”
Arc Nyah also said it is anti-modern in cooperative for cooperators to expect government to provide all their needs added that government’s role is to concern itself with advocacy and regulation.
Explaining that present laws regulating cooperative societies in Akwa Ibom State stagnate cooperative development, he called on the government to upgrade these laws in line with the vision of both the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Akwa Ibom State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (AKSEEDS) saying this is the task Akwa Ibom State Cooperative Federation (AKOFED) must set for itself urgently.
Arch Nyah reiterated his call for a private sector structured financial system to facilitate funds for cooperatives doing different businesses in the state.
Regretting the failure of the Cooperative Development Bank to be an engine for Cooperative growth, he said the bank in which he is Managing Director, Prudential Cooperative Microfinance Bank has implemented microfinance for cooperatives and has recorded huge successes.
The example of Akwa Ibom Finance Prudential Cooperative Association (AKFIPCA) a direct beneficiary of PCMFB’s funding he said has convinced Akwa Ibom people on the viability and profitability of cooperative businesses.
According to Arch Nyah in ten years of AKFIPCA’s existence it has mobilized 16,000 cooperators in over 4000 primary societies in Akwa Ibom State.
The association he said has mobilized N498 million cooperators savings, given out loans to cooperators worth N92.8 million, established a 30 hectare citrus farm with Akwa Ibom State government where it has planted 12,000 oranges, 7000 mango trees, which are already fruiting and recently targets planting 4,00 paw-paw trees out of which 2,000 is planted already.
Arch Nyah said the cooperative spends N30 million annually in scholarships of cooperators children – 17 students at Topfaith with 4 who passed out of Topfaith adding that 3 are in University of Nigeria, Nsukka and one in Igbinedion University.
The association he added has created direct employment for over 160 staff, disbursed N74million revolving interest free loan and purchase shares of PCMFB. Other achievements of AKFIPCA he added include holding free quarterly seminars to train members, publication of the only cooperative Newspapers in Nigeria (The Cooperative Trails, sponsoring of weekly Cooperative Radio Programme in AKBC Radio (Money Wise) and sponsoring of its Farm Manager on a study visit to Israel.
Arc Nyah called on the Akwa Ibom State government through Bureau of Rural Development and cooperative to mobilize and sensitize cooperators to embrace the two cooperative microfinance banks in the state-PCMFB and AKOFED, maintaining that this was the only way government could easily achieve people centered development.
He thanked the state government for its presence at the event saying that this will encourage cooperators to improve in their businesses.