Cooperatives receive NGEF funding

Director Ridley Joseph says start small but think big

“After the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the National Green Energy Fund (NGEF) and the Registrar if Cooperatives and Business Development Services last week, I am proud to confirm that the NGEF Board has approved and dished out funding in the form of loans to Aulua Consumer Cooperative Society on Malekula and Futuna Fishing Cooperative Society in the South of the country on Futuna Island.

“This funding will go towards purchasing solar systems to improve the services of the Cooperatives as well as improve electrification in terms of storage and lighting and information access in the businesses so the funds have already been dished out through the Office of the Registrar”.

This is confirmed by the Registrar of Cooperatives and Business Development Services, Ridley Joseph in an exclusive interview yesterday.

The Director says the MOU’s aim is to specifically help cooperatives to access some assistance, the goal of the parties is to contribute towards the achievement of the National Energy Road Map which targets the electrification of households in SMEs, public institutions in the off-grid areas of the country, using only clean energy from renewable sources and support energy efficiency improvement projects including green growth investment by 2020.

So NGEF is partnering with cooperatives in the operationalization of the phase of the project which will pave way for providing credit access to members of cooperatives to purchase more clean energy sources and produce electricity for productive purposes.

“The aim is to work with cooperatives to allow funds to given in terms of loans to enable us to work to fulfill the energy efficiency support by way of facilities to assist production in the cooperatives”, he explains.

“For example the recipient of the funds can also work to improve their storage facilities to may be improve electrification efficiency that is in place in their cooperative business.

“But at the same time, when it comes to off-grid, it can provide the project and help the cooperatives to provide electricity to household members of cooperatives as well”.

The Registrar says two sets of follow-ups by Cooperatives and NGEF will be done with more training and he wishes to thank NGEF for their focus to help to make sure that compliance and funds are used properly.

The next business interest focus on the list is on cooperatives on Aneityum, Tanna and Epi.

“As the Director and Registrar of Cooperatives, I wish to say thank you for the initiative which is helping our cooperatives to see a little bit of flow through of much needed funds to help their development throughout the country”, he continues.

The Cooperatives is a long time movement and despite its challenges, the movement is growing. “I think we will complete our financial audits this year and get the financial strength of the cooperatives released to the public to know how the cooperatives are performing in the rural areas of our country”, he says.

“It is anticipated that we will provide a more focus oriented service towards a selected number of cooperatives which are strong and will build our network around those strong cooperatives.

“So basically those elected cooperatives will form the basis of a lot of our concentration next year when it comes to projects, when it comes to assistance from the Department as well as direction from the Government next year, moving forward with the National Sustainable Development Plan to achieve our goal by concentrating our focus on those selected cooperatives and build our network towards linking up with the Vanuatu Business Cooperatives Network so that wholistically we approach the movement with one enterprise focus in line with the National Cooperatives Policy from2017 – 2020”.

He urges the Cooperatives to capitalize on the assistance that “we provide, attend trainings and allow the Cooperative Inspectors to inspect your books since it is important that as we view these indicators then we can connect you with projects such as this as we don’t want you to remain small forever.

“We want you to grow from primary cooperatives to secondary cooperatives and even become tertiary cooperatives. Just make sure you do not remain small because you want to remain small. My message to you is to get out of that attitude, change your mind, start small but think big. Connect with the right Cooperatives Officers to come to help you.

“When we see the indicators fulfilling in front of us through managers and financial audits then we’ll pick and select you for projects like this to enhance your enterprise growth so think big don’t remain small”.

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