Co-ops in Mauritius urged to adopt better governance

A workshop for the country’s co-ops was held after a series of financial scandals prompted a rethink of co-op law

Co-operatives must embrace new principles of good governance to avoid financial scandals and malpractices, the Mauritian minister of business, enterprise and co-operatives has said.

Mr Soomilduth Bholah, speaking at a governance workshop by the Mauritius Co-operative Alliance Limited (MCAL), said this would improve public confidence in co-ops.

The workshop, held at at the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development in Phoenix, brought together 100 participants including members of co-operatives, secondary and university students and other stakeholders.

Mr Bholah said the core principles in the co-op sector are transparency, accountability, leadership, co-operation and high ethical behaviour. A series of financial scandals have put pressure on the movement to set up credible and higher standards to win back trust.

He said the government was working to strengthen the co-op movement by providing the legal, fiscal and policy support, including amendments to the Cooperatives Act to eliminate loopholes and practical impediments.

The Cooperatives Act 2016, he added, encompasses concepts such as corporate governance and a code of ethics and best practices which must be grounded at the basis of cooperatives.

Mr D. Kona Yerukunondu, chair of MCAL, the apex body for co-ops in Mauritius, said the organisation should be considered the mouthpiece of the national co-op movement.

The organisation, he added, is responsible for facilitating the development of co-operatives through the creation and provision of legal and institutional environment together with adequate support as well as incentives.