Cooperatives have been started to help communities involve in socio-economic activity in collective way but in Nepal, they have become a tool to cheat common people.
The deviation from the core principle of cooperatives has increased fraud in Nepal, said secretary at the Office of Prime Minister Krishna Hari Baskota, addressing annual general meeting of a cooperatives, in Kathmandu, today.
Despite increasing fraud, the government is not serious on taking action against the cooperatives that have already cheated and are on the run. “The government should be strict,” he said, adding that an investigation committee is currently working on it.
There are 29,526 cooperatives by the end of last fiscal year 2012-13. Kathmandu district has the largest number of cooperatives (3,646), followed by Kavre (1,322), Lalitpur (1,012), Morang (993) and Jhapa (717), Baskota added. “Likewise, there are 12,916 saving and credit cooperatives, 3,938 multipurpose cooperatives, 7,095 agriculture cooperatives, 1,743 milk cooperatives, 1,459 consumer cooperatives, and many vegetables, fruits, tea, coffee, honey, herbs, sugarcane cooperatives.”
However, most of the urban cooperatives have been lending to buy land and invest in stock market. Some of the cooperatives management themselves had invested on land also, fueling the land price to record high, and embezzling the public fund, but the government has been a mute spectator failing to secure the public’s hard earned money.
“There is some Rs 158.16 billion deposits in cooperatives,” he informed, adding that they have lent Rs 133.72 billion, whereas some 52,300 people are employed. “The cooperatives have Rs 33.45 billion share capital and 4.35 million shareholders, whereas 243,259 are involved directly as directors, making it a direct involvement of around 4.6 million people involved in the cooperatives.”
Though the cooperatives were expected to create self-employment, apart from developing saving habits of people for the socio-economic transformation of a society, people have been misusing it for their personal benefit, he added, asking them not to misuse the cooperatives.
Despite the repeated frauds worth over billions by the cooperatives, the government has neither been able to regulate cooperatives nor been able to refund people their cheated money, and continue to pamper as one of the three pillars of economy. The world over cooperatives is regarded as an integral part of private sector but the government has — to fulfil vested interest of some political leaders — termed cooperatives as third pillar of economy.

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