The Business and Cooperatives Development Division’s Cooperative Society Unit is responsible for the promotion of the cooperative movement by encouraging the formation of cooperative societies and ensuring that cooperatives operate in accordance with the requirements of the Cooperative Societies Act (Cap 164), the Act’s Rules, Principles and each cooperative’s By-Laws.
The Unit can also provide support services for registered cooperative societies such as trainings, research and marketing. Additionally, advisory services such as financial advice on how to access financing options can also be provided to cooperative societies through the Unit.
The following are questions and information based on the Cooperative Societies Act (Cap 164).
What is a Cooperative Society
Generally, a cooperative is a business organization formed and owned by group of individuals for the purpose of improving their economic standard of living and social services rendered. This is achieved through their participation in economic and social activities based on the cooperative principles. In the Solomon Islands, cooperatives are registered under and governed by a Cooperative Societies Act.
What are the Cooperative Principles?
The cooperative movement is governed by seven (7) cooperative principles that have been universally accepted and adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). The principles are:
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for community
What is the Philosophy of Cooperatives?
The underlying philosophy of cooperatives emphasizes services and well being of members rather than maximization of profits. As such, co-operatives are not profit oriented, not oppressive but uphold honesty in conducting their business activities. The ultimate aim is to provide a suitable alternative to society in terms of quality goods and services rendered at a reasonable price.
What challenges are faced by Cooperative Societies?
In the past, the main emphasis of cooperative development in the Solomon Islands from the very beginning had always been placed on consumer cooperatives in the form of rural trade stores. This emphasis eventually contributed to the challenges faced by these cooperatives as profit driven individual or community registered business enterprises became direct competition to these cooperatives. Other challenges include the lack of capital, bad management and the misuse of funds.