The Malta Co-operative Federation is welcoming a legal change allowing it to access funding through the Central Co-operative Fund.
Set up in 2012, the Malta Co-operative Federation has helped more than 80% of newly registered societies but was not eligible for funding through the Central Co-operative Fund because it was not recognised as an official federation.
The changes came into force with the Legal Notice 344 of 2016 and will enable the Malta Co‑operative Federation to fund research, training and educational programmes to promote and develop the country’s co-operative movement.
Co-operatives making a profit contribute 5% of their annual surplus to the Central Co-operative Fund. The federation, which is one of the country’s apex bodies for co-ops, estimates that its members contribute around 50% of the total annual contributions made into the public fund.
The fund is administered by a committee which, under the new rules, consists of six independent members appointed by the minister of economy, investment and small business; three members appointed by a majority vote among members of eligible, registered co-ops; and two members from eligible, recognised organisations. The Malta Co-operative Federation will also have an official on the committee.
John Mallia, president of the Malta Co-operative Federation, said that Maltese co-op movement was enjoying “exciting times” and the legal changes meant more people could learn how democratically controlled enterprises contribute to the country’s “economic growth, social development and environmental responsibility”.
Malta’s first co-ops were set up in 1946. In the early days, the sector was mainly active in agriculture and fishery but co-ops now exist in transport, marketing, consultancy, media or wholesale.