The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently met with representatives of cooperative societies in Dubai to discuss a new law that will govern their activities.
The representatives expressed concern that the current Cooperative Societies Law of 1976 does not address their needs properly. It treats cooperative societies as charities or non-profit organisations when in reality they are commercial entities with social responsibilities. They said the new law should define the general frame of their activities, leaving the details to their articles of association and their by-laws. This will allow them to organise their commercial activities so they can be competitive with large consumer entities in the country.
The representatives highlighted a number of topics the new law needs to cover, such as membership, voting mechanism and distribution of profit among members, suggesting that these should be decided by the general assemblies of cooperative societies in compliance with their charters.
Attendees at the meeting also discussed the economic and social significance of cooperatives - contributing to market stability, generating profit for their members, creating jobs and providing useful services to the local population.
Statistics show that at the end of 2013 cooperatives operating in the emirate numbered 17 with 102 showrooms and 51,181 shareholders with 109,119,897 shares. The share capital of cooperative societies was 1.1 billion dirhams. Sales reached 5.9 billion dirhams in 2012 with cooperatives contributing 16.3 million to social and charitable causes that year.
According to the Dubai Chamber, the meeting about the new law was in line with its efforts to help different economic sectors cope with the challenges they face, as part of its policy to support the growth of the national economy and to ensure better services for members and stakeholders.