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Co-operatives praised for five-year positive growth   2011-01-03 - VNS

Growing at an average of 12 per cent for the last five years, the co-operative sector has made a major contribution to HCM City's socio-economic development, according to Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economics Times).

The weekly newspaper said in a recent story that the city has 456 co-operatives and five co-operative unions that employ more than 100,000 people and contribute 1 per cent of the city's economic output.

One of the biggest successes for them in the last five years was in the retail segment in which there were three unions and 109 co-operatives.

The transport segment achieved the most rapid growth. There were 160 transport co-operatives, 18 of them in the loading and unloading sub-sector.

The number of passenger vehicles operated by co-operatives had increased from 500 old vehicles to nearly 1,000, many of them very modern.

The co-operatives transported 87 per cent of the city's commuters.

Agricultural co-operatives too achieved strong growth in terms of both numbers and socio-economic impact, especially in the clean fruits, tubers, and vegetables sub-sectors.

Their number rose to 49, more than doubling in just the last year.

In addition to production, they also participated in trading, helping members sell their produce. For instance, they had set up close relationships with many local supermarket chains and markets to whom members could sell large quantities of produce.

Obstacles to growth

However, the co-operative sector continued to face many hurdles to growth.

The biggest were the lack of bus stations, parking space, and resources needed to repair and upgrade vehicles and increase drivers' salaries.

Many that had invested in double-deckers and disabled-friendly buses had yet to receive the interest subsidies the city had promised.

Agricultural co-operatives complained they were not allowed to rent land for long terms and found it difficult to raise capital.

Plans

In the next five years the co-operative sector targeted increasing its contribution to the economy to 1.2 per cent and ensuring 60 per cent of city wards and communes have co-operatives involved in selling goods and services.

To achieve these goals, it would give priority to setting up trading and service co-operatives with a focus on retail outlets and services in residential areas.

It also planned to improve the quality of transport operations and village vocational co-operatives and expand its presence in areas like sanitation, health care, school construction, and market management.

Other areas of focus in the next five years were developing human resources, production means, and capital sources, and improving its competitiveness.



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