Address by Engr. Jibrin Bala Jos, president, co-operative federation of Nigeria (CFN)/ vice-chairman, the Alliance Africa, on the occasion of CFN’s pre-agm national workshop on securing ‘‘reliable co-operative capital for enhanced job creation and employment generation’’: challenges and prospects, holding at hill station, Jos, Plateau state, on 24th November, 2015.

ADDRESS  BY ENGR. JIBRIN BALA JOS, PRESIDENT, CO-OPERATIVE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA (CFN)/ VICE CHAIRMAN, THE ALLIANCE AFRICA, OM THE OCCASION OF CFN’S PRE-AGM NATIONAL WORKSHOP ON SECURING ‘’RELIABLE CO-OPERATIVE CAPITAL FOR ENHANCED JOB CREATION AND EMPLOYMENT GENERATION’’: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS, HOLDING AT HILL STATION, JOS, PLATEAU STATE, ON 24TH NOVEMBER, 2015.

Protocols

                  I am highly delighted to be here today because Jos is a second home to me, that is why I am popularly known as ‘’Baba Jos’’. Permit me, therefore, Mr. Chairman, ladies, and gentlemen, to join our host in welcoming you all to the beautiful city of Jos.

                  Before I proceed with my search, I would like to, on behalf of the Co-operative Movement, congratulate His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, on his assumption of office. Your Excellency, the gathering of the co-operative members from across Nigeria in Jos is a good omen for your administration, and by extension, that of President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

                  CFN is the National umbrella of co-operatives, representing over 10 million family co-operative members, who are involved in different types of economic activities. Membership of CFN is drawn from State Co-operative Federations of the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT, as well as national and state sectoral co-operative Apexes, and national primary co-operative societies. This makes CFN the single largest organization with a membership base stretching from the grassroots to the national economy. This sounds impressive, and it is true. But the other side is several challenges, among them, lack of access to capital constrains co-operatives’ capacity to create jobs and generate employment.

The objective for this workshop, therefore, is to identify and discuss the various ways which co-operatives can ensure and access reliable capital to grow their enterprises, earn higher incomes, and create more jobs and provide employment.

Our deliberations and their outcomes should deeply interest Governments at Federal and State level, because only through an effective partnership between government and the Civil Society, of which co-operatives form a large part, can sustainable development be achieved. And sustainable development cannot be achieved until the majority of our population is mobilized and empowered to take an active part in economic and development processes. This is precisely where the ICA Africa Co-operative Development Strategy (ACODES) is relevant and should be integrated by the Government into National Development Plans. The ACODES contains five pillars that will drive co-operative enterprises in Africa up to 2016. These pillars are participation, sustainability, identity/ image, legal framework, and capital.

Co-operatives, in all modesty, and without prejudice to the important role which other civil society groups can play, provide the most effective and efficient means by which sustainable development can be achieved in Nigeria. The UN Statement on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) states, in part, “We acknowledge the role of the diverse private sector, ranging from micro-enterprises to co-operatives to multinationals”.

The Co-operative Movement of Nigeria has fully embraced the change in the country and is prepared to contribute its quota to the government’s efforts towards the socio-economic development of the nation. It is in this regard that we urge Governments at all levels to diligently implement the Co-operative Development Policy for Nigeria (2002), in order to create a more favorable environment for co-operatives to grow and develop. The vision of this policy is to strengthen the entrepreneurial capacities of co-operatives to enable them to earn more surpluses and provide employment to the general public. The policy makes provision for the creation of the following frameworks:

  1. National Council on Co-operative Affairs (NCCA);
  2. National Co-operative Advisory Board (NCAB); and
  3. National Co-operative Development Fund (NCDF), which seed fund to be provided by Governments at Federal and State levels. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development established the NCCA and NCAB, but the NCDF is yet to be established.

At the state level, only Ekiti State has established the SCCA and the SCAB. I, therefore, wish to urge His Excellency. The Executive Governor of Plateau State, and his counterparts to ensure the creation of these policy frameworks reposition the co-operative sector to enable it to contribute maximally to the socio-economic development of the country.

The Africa Co-operative Ministers under the ICA Africa Ministerial Conference (MC) held in Gabarone, Botswana, from 10- 13 October 2015. A one-day workshop attended by Ministers and leaders of Co-operative Movement in the region during the conference deliberated on the contribution of co-operatives to African Union’s Agenda 2063, and resolved, among other things, that co-operatives of all types have been contributing to AU’s Agenda 2063. Similarly, the European Union has embarked on a three-year Co-operative Project. African governments, Nigeria in particular, should flow with the global co-operative development trend because of the obvious advantages in terms of job creation and employment, poverty reduction, and empowerment for women and youths and so on.

Special Guest of Honour, ladies, and gentlemen, I will be failing in my duty if I do not use this opportunity to inform co-operative members, stakeholders and our guests that CFN is hosting the 12th ICA Africa Regional Assembly next year.

This event brings together co-operative leaders and government officials from the African region, as well as the ICA Global and development partners, to discuss common challenges and prospects of co-operative development in the region. I, therefore urge all co-operators and stakeholders to take advantage of the forthcoming event to network, exchange ideas and experience towards improving their co-operatives.

In conclusion, I wish to thank the Government of Plateau State for identifying with the Co-operative Movement of the State. I must also thank our host, the Plateau State Co-operative Federation for their spirit of co-operative solidarity.

Thank you for your kind attention and God bless.