The Lagos State Government has expressed its desire to leverage multi-stakeholder partnerships to boost the operations of cooperative services in the State.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu revealed this at the Luncheon/Merit Award Day organised as part of activities to mark the International Day of Cooperatives 2023 held at Lagos State Cooperative Federation (LASCOFED) head office, Ogba on Saturday.

Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister ‘Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin, Mr Governor, while speaking on the theme: “Cooperatives: Partners for Accelerated Sustainable Development”, affirmed that multi-stakeholders partnerships will facilitate knowledge sharing and capacity building, as each stakeholder brings their unique experience, skill, and perspective to the table.

He said: “By encouraging collaboration with diverse partners, we can ensure cooperative societies access a broader range of knowledge and expertise through an exchange of ideas that would foster innovation and enable the development of more effective solutions to complex sustainability challenges.

“One of the very key reasons why our administration is interested in, and will advocate for partnerships as a means of accelerating sustainable development is the ability to mobilise people and financial resources like the Cooperatives, as both are central to any development”, Mr Governor added.

According to him, it is crucial when we understand that Governments alone cannot provide all the requirements needed to address the challenges associated with sustainable development.

“Cooperative Societies are a major stakeholder in Lagos State and their services are at the core of our administration’s focus, as reflected in our T.H.E.M.E.S Plus Agenda, which focuses on transforming our dear State into a modern economic powerhouse. By strengthening the Cooperative Movement through multi-stakeholder partnerships, our administration will facilitate additional financial resources and expertise to empower a greater number of people and boost development”. he said.

Sanwo-Olu stated further that his administration is actively working to create an enabling environment for cooperatives to thrive as it understands that cooperatives can be a strong driver of poverty alleviation, job creation, economic growth, and community empowerment.

“Our administration is also willing and ready to support cooperatives with training, financial assistance, and technical expertise to strengthen their operations. We have continued to facilitate the formation of new cooperatives and worked with existing ones to expand their reach and impact. With cooperatives as our partners, we aim to stimulate investments, harness local talents, and develop a more inclusive and sustainable economy”, he emphasised.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs. Adetutu Ososanya, FCA, stated that about 3000 active cooperative societies in Lagos State are playing crucial roles in promoting sustainable development as their structure fosters an inclusive approach, ensuring that the benefits of growth are distributed equitably among members and the broader community.

“We have witnessed the positive impacts of cooperatives in creating employment opportunities and fostering entrepreneurship, which has enhanced the livelihoods of thousands of our citizens. Cooperatives have played great roles in achieving the goals set out in the Lagos State Development Plan and through the Ministry, the administration is further fostering stronger cooperative societies using improved monitoring and regulatory functions”. she said.

The Guest Lecturer, Mr. Tunde Shosina called for more support for the Cooperative Movement in light of how they supported families and businesses during the pandemic saying, the Government can leverage their size and spread to deepen socio-economic development.

President, Lagos State Cooperative Federation Limited, Barrister Oladipo Shobule stressed the role of cooperatives in providing affordable credit and homes, enhancing agricultural productivity and food security in promoting entrepreneurship and empowering marginalised groups, which have truly proven themselves as partners in the journey towards sustainable development.

He said, “Our State has been a pioneer in recognising the potentials of cooperatives, and through strategic collaborations, we have harnessed their power to drive inclusive growth and positive social change”.

The event also featured a Panel discussion while several gifts were won by cooperators through special recognition awards, raffle draws and consolation prizes.

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