ILO backed first National Coop Policy ready by early November

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen (third from left) and other Provincial Cooperative Ministers at the Coop Ministers' Summit at BMICH on 27 September

The first ever National Cooperative Policy is expected to be ready by November. The policy, guided by International Labour Organization’s R193 recommendations, has been in the works for the last 10 years.

“With the progress of today’s Conference, I call to complete the policy by next month” said the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on 27 September. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the Cooperative Ministers’ Conference held at BMICH on 27 September. Among those joining were Secretary to Ministry of Industry and Commerce Chinthaka Lokuhetti and Additional Secretary (Food and Cooperatives) Malkanthi Ekanayake, Cooperative Ministers from the Provincial Councils and various cooperative officials from the Provinces.  Provincial Ministers too presented their suggestions for the finalisation of the national policy on 27 September.

“With the progress of today’s Conference, I call for the completion of the National Cooperative Policy by next month. I thank all the Provincial Cooperative Ministers and the ILO for the support given to us” said Minister Bathiudeen.

The draft policy is a result of many rounds of previous consultations held with the Provincial Ministers and cooperative members. ILO has been continuously supporting the formulation of Sri Lanka’s national coop policy. The new Policy focuses on sustainable development of the sector, investments, updating of legal framework, new infrastructure and overall modernisation of the sector.

Sri Lanka’s cooperatives movement that started 112 years ago. There are almost 14500 cooperatives-in various productions services, SMEs, women’s development, rural banking, insurance and farming sectors-active in Sri Lanka. Through “Coop City” shops, cooperatives are also now present in the country’s FMCG retail sector.

ILO, the only tripartite U.N. agency, brings together governments, employers and workers from 187 member States to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes, promoting “decent work” for all.

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