The Sri Lanka Cooperative Movement celebrated its centenary and the International Cooperative Day at Welagedera stadium in Kurunegala last week.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the function as the chief Guest and in his address said the Cooperative Societies have rendered a great service for Sri Lankans on retail marketing especially with the supplying of essential food items at reasonable rices which he noted was very commendable during difficult times.
Organisers of the event quoted the President as saying that it was the Cooperative Movement that came forward to help the government to meet exigencies in supplying essential food items. Even today the ‘Co-op City’ outlets numbering more than 7,000 play an important role in providing essential food items at reasonable prices and the ‘Sathosa’ marketing networks had an impact on market prices. The President further said the government cannot allow the private sector to monopolize the entire trading sector.
Fair competition is essential among the private, public and the Co-operative sectors to benefit the people especially in a country like Sri Lanka where the majority belongs to the low income level. The government bears a greater responsibility to provide essential food items at reasonable prices to the masses, the President said.
Therefore the government was able not only to rebuild the cooperatives sector but also to protect it from privatization and utilize its resources towards the path of development of the country, he added. The Cooperative Movement in Sri Lanka began in 1906 at Teldeniya, Kandy. It was legalized Sri Lanka in 1911.
Officials said the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade has made arrangements to implement several programmes in connection with the Cooperative Day and completion of 100 years since the introduction of the cooperative law to Sri Lanka. The organizing committee of these special events comprises representatives from the Ministry, Cooperative Development, Department Provincial Cooperative Development Ministries and Departments, National Cooperative Development Institute, National and Provincial Cooperative Employees Commissions and National Cooperative Board.