Federal Director of Cooperatives, Dr. Dickson Okolo has advocated the need to establish the National Cooperative Development Fund in line with the recommendations of the National Cooperative Development Policy (2002) to guarantee access to finance by the Cooperative Societies for their members.
Dr. Okolo made this known recently in Asaba, Delta state, while delivering a lecture on the topic “Enhancing greater access to finance for Cooperatives through the establishment of a National Cooperative Development Fund” during the 1st CFAN Summit organised by the National Cooperative Financing Agency, CFAN.
A communique signed jointly by the President, CFAN, Adebola Orolugbagbe and Executive Secretary, CFAN, Emmanuel Atama at the end of the Summit also recommended “an urgent need to strengthen and upgrade the Federal Department of Cooperatives to a Commission or an agency with authority and budget to enable her properly supervise and regulate the Cooperative movement in Nigeria”.
“The summit equally prefers that the recommended Cooperative Development agency/commission should be situated in either the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development or the Presidency”, the Communiqué state.
It noted that “some States in Nigeria like Akwa-Ibom and Bayelsa states have implemented this and advised the Federal Government and other States of the Federation to take a cue from the aforementioned states”.
With respect to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund, MSMEDF, of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Summit recommended that “the Central Bank of Nigeria should as a matter of urgency include the Federal Department of Cooperatives, FDC, and the relevant apex financial cooperative body, CFAN, on the steering committee of the MSMEDF to ensure that the apex Bank is properly guided on decisions affecting the Cooperative movement as far as the said fund is concerned as against what presently exists”.
Furthermore, the Communiqué recommended “need for urgent review of the existing guidelines on the MSMEDF which shall take into account the peculiar nature of the cooperative structure and model to make it more cooperative friendly”.
It was also resolved that the Rural Finance Building Programme, RUFIN, should directly interface with the National Cooperative Financing Agency of Nigeria, CFAN, as the apex Financial Cooperative body in Nigeria in the execution of its programmes on rural finance building for cooperatives.
Cooperative Societies at all levels were also advised to “imbibe the use of Information Technology in its operations to bring about the desired quality of records and to enhance good corporate governance of cooperative societies”.
Earlier, the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, represented by the Commissioner of Commerce and Industry for Delta State, Barrister (Mrs.) Mary Iyasere, speaking on the theme “Wealth Creation; Tackling poverty in Nigeria using the cooperative model” assured that the State is putting everything in place to ensure that cooperatives become the driver of rural development goals of the government.

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