Lagos- The Lagos State Cooperative Federation Ltd. (LASCOFED) on Tuesday said that cooperators had contributed about N80 billion as net asset to the state economy.
The Federation’s President, Mr Oriyomi Ayeola, said this in Lagos at an interactive session with journalists to mark the beginning of the LASCOFED Founders’ Week.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Week is tagged: “Relevance of Cooperative Movement to the Economy of the State’’.
Ayeola told newsmen that Lagos State had the highest number of cooperative societies in Nigeria.
According to him, there are two million cooperators and 12,000 societies in the state.
“Every cooperator in Lagos is a contributing agent to the state economy.
“We make up about 10 per cent of the state’s population with our membership standing at over two million cooperators.
“At present, cooperative societies contribute N80 billion as a net asset to the economy of Lagos State.
“That is why the state government should do more to provide an enabling environment for cooperatives to flourish,’’ Ayeola said.
He listed poor access to government loans and high rate of bank interest rates as some of the impediments to the growth of cooperative societies in the state.
According to him, lack of legal frame work for punishing defaulting societies, who fail to remit funds to the coffers of federation and state, is also a challenge.
“We have made several presentations to the state government on the need to punish erring societies.
“We need a legislation to punish defaulters,’’ he said.
Ayeola noted that the federation and state government needed each other’s assistance.
“Without our assistance, it will be difficult for government to retrieve loans given to small business owners.
“The government should give the loans to cooperative societies to disburse for ease of refund.
“We know how to get the money back in time from our benefiting members,’’ he said.
The president said that 11 members would be incorporated to the federation’s Elders Forum during the Week, while 40 members would be honoured for their contributions to the development of cooperatives movement in the state. (NAN)