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Strengthening Cooperatives
24/08/2011 - 14:36
Strengthening Cooperatives

The Vietnam Cooperative Alliance has recently chosen as one of the top 100 cooperatives of 18,294 cooperatives nationwide in 2008. Of the 100, 16 are agricultural, 24 are doing industry-handicrafts, 32 are in transportation, 10 are in trade-service, 12 are handling people's credit funds, 4 are involved in construction and 2 are in fisheries.

Pham Van An, the chairman of the Hanoi Cooperative Alliance, said that to become a strong cooperative its necessary to have managers who are dynamic and enterprising. In a market-based economy, cooperative managers must be dynamic, active, creative, responsible, hardworking and eager to learn. In addition, for them to be effective and sustainable businesses, they need to have sound business strategies. For example, the Noi Bai Transport Cooperative wants to have many businesses. Besides a taxi service, the cooperative transports goods, does repairs, services automobiles and sells vehicle materials, equipment and spare parts. This made it possible for the cooperative to increase revenue 10 percent annually.

Nguyen Duy Hieu, the chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Cooperative Alliance, said that one of the keys to success is to have a number of businesses that can support each other, for example, trade-services, production-sales and transportation-stevedoring-warehouse.

Nguyen Tien Quan, the chairman of the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance, said that six lessons can be drawn from these top cooperatives.

First, they are all well-organized. People are cooperative members because they want to be, they have contributed capital and they feel responsible for the cooperative.

Second, the cooperatives have managers who are capable, enterprising, responsible and dedicated. The management board and the chairman play a key role in the development of the cooperative.

Third, they have drawn-up business directions/plans/strategies that are clear, appropriate, feasible and practical. Investments are concentrated and a considerable amount of capital has gone into research and development (R & D) activities, new science-tech, new productions and branding.

Fourth, they have allied their workers, business households, small businesses, organizations and enterprises, regardless of the location, scale and field of business. The top cooperatives have chosen appropriate business models.

Fifth, they have closely followed provincial/municipal socioeconomic development programs/plans/goals and have taken part in socioeconomic development programs/projects.

Sixth, they work in the interest of cooperative members and contribute to the local community.

The 100 cooperatives are role models that have contributed to national economic development and created a large number of jobs, particularly for rural people. For this reason, it is necessary to 1) develop cooperatives, 2) learn from successful cooperatives, 3) step by step improve criteria for acknowledging strong cooperatives and 4) increase the sharing of information, training and retraining to improve managerial capacity, business efficiency and professionalism in the context of the market-based economy and international economic integration. Apart from that, State assistance is also important, particularly regarding the improvement and application of incentive policies towards cooperatives.

By Hanh Nga


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