UPND chairperson for Agriculture, Food and Water Development Levy Ngoma says the party will rely on co-operatives to help turn around the economy when the opposition party forms government.

And Ngoma says UPND will work with commercial banks, Zambia National Farmers Union, Colleges and Universities to rebuild a co-operative business model that will create sustainable jobs in all provinces.

In the UPND’s weekly news letter to News Diggers! Ngoma stated that UPND believed in independent, strong and sustainable co-operative enterprises and would therefore rely on co-operatives to help turn around the economy.

He stated that the UPND government would consider establishing a Zambia Co-operative Commission of Inquiry composed of farmers representatives, surviving co-operatives and the private sector.

“These will consider the following policy options: (a) Recommending a National Co-operative Policy that promotes on job creation, sustainability, co-operative enterprise values and principles and diversification by co-operatives in Zambia; (b) That the Zambia Co-operative Act (No 20 of 1998) be amended to reduce the powers of the Ministers and Civil Servants in controlling co-operatives -hence promoting ILO Regulation 193 of 2002; (c) That GRZ hands over the Co-operative College and ensure that the College is owned by the Co-operative Movement with a view of making co-operative enterprise training its mandate; (d) Introduce a Co-operative Enterprise Education in the curriculum from Primary Level to the University,” he stated.

Ngoma stated that UPND would further consider making recommendations of how best to restructure the Zambia Co-operative Federation to ensure that it has an efficient apex body, hence allowing only district and provincial unions to operate as co-operative enterprises throughout Zambia.

“Consider ways of the Zambia National Farmers Union, the Co-operative Movement, the private sector and GRZ re-introducing the Co-operative Bank to be owned 100 percent by farmers and the private sector; Make recommendations for UPND government to turn all major Zambia public markets owned by Councils into Co-operatives and securing funds from donors to turn the markets into Multi-Purpose Co-operatives working together to diversity their businesses and promote Credit Unions; That Zambia National Service considers turning all ZNS Farms into Co-operative Enterprises and Co-operative Training Centres,” he stated further.

And Ngoma stated that as UPND, the overarching goal of the co-operative policy would be to create youth and women employment through sustainable co-operative enterprises in agriculture, tourism, housing, transport, financial services, mining, education, among others.

He stated that the party would work with co-operative leaders throughout the country to ensure that Zambia achieves Vision 2030.

Ngoma added that this would be by ensuring that co-operative enterprises also incorporated the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals to ensure that poverty becomes history in Zambia.

He stated that UPND would also work with the commercial banks, Zambia National Farmers Union, Colleges and Universities to rebuild a co-operative business model that would create sustainable and decent jobs in all provinces.

“This will require a serious paradigm shift in all Ministries, Local Government and State Enterprises. UPND will also work with the commercial banks, the Zambia National Farmers Union, Colleges and Universities to rebuild a co-operative business model that will create sustainable and decent jobs in all Provinces. Zambian Co-operative enterprises under the UPND will be supported to not only to produce primary products, but add value for domestic, regional and international markets. That is the future we can all build for our children- a fair and sustainable economy that is based on co-operation and not competition,” stated Ngoma.

“Co-operatives are recognised by the United Nations as major job creating enterprises that also contribute to economic growth in both the developed and developing countries. Co-operative enterprises contribute hugely to the Growth Domestic Product of large economies in the UK, USA, Canada, Japan, China, Spain, Germany, France, Australia, Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana. Co-operative enterprises are therefore based on the values of “self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity”.”