The prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wazed, highlighted the contribution of co-operatives to the country’s socio-economic development, in a speech ahead of National Co-operative Day on 6 November.
Sheika Hasina called for national unity and said co-operatives could be instrumental in “making the country prosperous and peaceful”. She encouraged the country’s 65,000 villages to establish co-operatives.
The prime minister also distributed national co-operative awards to 10 individuals and co-operative societies for their outstanding contribution to co-operatives.
A keen supporter of co-ops, she said the government would focus on encouraging people to move from micro credit to micro savings.
In her speech at the event, she referred to attempts by her father – the late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, first president of Bangladesh – to use co-operatives to close economic divisions.
In 1975 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman announced he would introduce compulsory multipurpose co-operatives under five-year plans across the country’s 65,000 villages. He envisioned that each co-op would include between 500 and 1,000 families. The programme was abandoned due to political change in 1975.
President Abdul Hamid also spoke at the event, saying that co-ops were important tools for attaining national development and progress, in tackling poverty and increasing food security.
He encouraged the movement to make the most of the technological advances and establish “co-operatives of the new generation”.