The Lagos State Government joined its counterparts across the world to commemorate the International Day of Cooperatives, applauding the immense contributions of Cooperative Societies to the socio-economic development and prosperity of the State. 

In his address at the event held at the Lagos State Cooperative Federation Multi-Purpose Hall, Ogba, Lagos, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the theme of this year’s celebration “Rebuilding Better Together” spoke to the need for all hands to be on deck to fast track the process of reversing the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy and people’s livelihoods.

He said, “In recognition of the active roles played by Cooperative Societies in our economy, particularly in the area of promoting brotherhood, good neighbourliness, economic freedom and self-realisation, our government has facilitated series of programmes aimed at encouraging more people to imbibe the spirit of cooperation and be active participants in both formal and informal sectors of our economy”.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folasade Jaji, stated that to ease the pains of COVID-19, the present administration has rolled out a series of measures to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.

He enjoined individuals and societies in the State to embrace best practices in the management of their affairs and deepen collaboration with the State government to take full advantage of opportunities being provided in the critical sectors, including agriculture.

Earlier, the Honourable Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs. Lola Akande, said Cooperatives are people-oriented associations characterised by democratic control that prioritise human development and social justice within the workplace.

In Lagos State, according to her, there are virtually no business organisations with a reasonable number of employees without one type of Cooperative Society or the other operating among the workers in the workplace.

Akande said, “The achievement of the cooperative movement in the State include the fact that the asset base of Cooperatives in the State has surpassed the N33 billion mark and the Cooperative department has now completely digitalised its operations leading to greater efficiency and effectiveness of services rendered”.

She disclosed that the registration of Cooperative Societies can now be done online, noting that this is to ensure that the process and all accounts of the various Societies in Lagos can easily be tracked.

According to her, the Ministry is working with Cooperative Movements to form a Cooperative Housing Association such that Cooperatives are better positioned to be able to access funds domiciled with the family fund, which is an initiative of the Federal Government geared towards the provision of affordable housing for the populace.

In his remarks, the President of Lagos State Cooperative Federation (LASCOFED), Bar. Oladipo Shobule, said the theme of this year’s celebration is a reminder that storms do not last forever and that all hands must be on deck to pick up after the COVID-19 pandemic.

 He appealed to the Lagos State Government to provide land that would allow the Cooperative Society benefit from the National Housing Programme initiative of the Federal Government to cushion the effect of COVID -19 in Nigeria.

“Cooperative Movement in Lagos State is interested in this programme and I, therefore, use this medium to request for allocation of 50 acres of land to LASCOFED in any part of the State for the benefit of cooperators”, Shobule said.

The highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of the Most Innovative Governor’s Award to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu by the Ministry and LASCOFED, among other numerous awards. 

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