– Labour Minister
Authorities are calling on the Credit Unions in Guyana to comply with proper managerial guidelines and the constitution, since 46 Credit Unions control $2 billion in assets. They have 15,000 members.
On Thursday, the Guyana Co-operative Credit Union League Ltd. in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Human Service and Social Services hosted a luncheon seminar on “Governance principles for the Co-operatives”. The venue was the Hotel Tower, Main Street, Georgetown.
Present at the seminar were Chief Co-operative Development Officer, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir, Manager of Guyana National Co-operative Union Rolleston Mitchell and President of Guyana National Co-operative Union League, Denise Benjamin.
The objective of the seminar was to address the challenges of organisation power within Credit Unions at three separate levels mainly, external, internal and individual governance.
It was also noted that the board and managers, as a cohesive unit, should ensure the Credit Union’s compliance with issues related to external and internal governance. However, in order to achieve this goal, each board member has a duty to adhere to the principles of individual governance, while looking at transparency, accountability and compliance.
The Chief Co-operative development officer said that external governance of Credit Unions deals with the constitution of the credit unions, and the rules outline the objectives of the entity.
He said that every credit union has clear guidelines, its objectives, target group and constitution of membership of the society. The Co-operative Society Act that has the statues and regulations underscores the credit union’s financial type of co-operative societies and non-financial type. The laws also outline what is expected of these societies.
He noted that auditing and financial reporting for each entity is important, since in March of every year each Co-operative society is expected to submit to the divisional Co-ops of their financial statement for the previous year.
Abdul-Jabar said that the members of the credit unions should be made aware of the major investments of their company while being involved in its approval.
Adding that Credit unions and Co-operatives were set up to serve its members, the Chief Co-operative Development Officer said when there is an excess capital of fund the entity can engage in other forms of economic activities, which should be approved by membership and sanctioned by the Chief Co-operative Development Officer.
Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir, said a Co-operative is a group of persons pooling their resources to engage in economic activities for the socio economic development of its members and their families, which is different from a non-governmental organisation which is not suppose to be engaged in economic activities but engaged in mobilising resources to help people.
Adding that national laws govern Co-operatives, Nadir said if a constitution of a Credit Union doesn’t comply with the laws of Guyana, it would not get registered.
He recommended that there is need for the Co-operatives to comply with the stipulated conditions as outlined in the constitution when they are meeting with executives of the general membership, since it is very easy to challenge a particular member that did not comply with the two and a half hours notice that is supposed to be delivered to their address.
“We had to do this recently with two national organisations, the Guyana Cricket Board and the Guyana football federation.”
Decisions and record-keeping were also underscored by Minister Nadir, who further said that such records should be safely kept, since that would be the basis under which managers would act, and if ever challenged the manager would be able to produce the relevant information that is needed.
Noting that there is need for accountability, transparency and compliance, Minister Nadir said for every executive meeting the manager should produce a detailed lending report.
In addition, there is need for an investment policy for credit unions since 46 Credit Unions control $2 billion in assets in which there are 15,000 members.
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