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Sri Lanka is set to welcome its first ever National Cooperative Policy framework soon, and this national effort is backed by none other than UN’s only tripartite agency, the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

“I thank the ILO for the support extended to our cooperatives sector,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen last week. Bathiudeen was addressing the consultation session by the Cooperatives Sector of his Ministry held at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI). The session, attended by various Cooperative Commissioners, District coop officials, Officer in Charge ILO Colombo Dr Indra Thudawage, and Senior Advisor to Minister Bathiudeen, Himali Jinadasa, focused on the finalisation of National Cooperative Policy and proposed amendments to Sri Lanka’s Cooperative legal framework.
“This work slowed in 2014. We re-commenced this work 8 months ago and I am pleased to attend today’s consultation session to see it progressed this far,” said Bathiudeen, and added:  “ILO has been supporting us in many ways and I thank the ILO for the support extended to our cooperatives sector as well.  Almost all stakeholders of this sector are here today and this shows the interest of the sector. These proposals will be submitted to the approval of the Cabinet and then to the Parliament. Previous Coop Ministers tried to amend the Act but could not, but after it was gazetted under me and I took over, ILO came forward to support us to bring our Coop sector to international standards. Today we are seeing the results.”