An Economic Form Full of Vitality

In the short term, the city’s authorities and leaders of current cooperatives should change their outlook over the collective economy and pay more attention to its development, says Ms. Hoang Thi Khanh, Chairwoman of the city’s Cooperative Alliance.

Besides, the city should turn on the green light for enterprises to access massive capital funds including the capital used to stimulate demands, ODA and BOT funds.

Moreover, the city should pay more attention to develop new cooperatives, whose operation aims at improving the people’s living conditions such as household’s waste collection, high-rise apartment building management, marketing and market management, etc.

More importantly, the city must offer financial support in a sensible way when it assigns the cooperatives new developing projects.

For instance, said Ms. Khanh, though the Cooperative Alliance was recently commissioned by the Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee to jointly restructure the city’s abattoir chain, its application for preferential loans on the program was rejected.

"Over the past 30 years, Ho Chi Minh City has witnessed the establishment and development of many modern cooperatives, whose effectiveness helps them lead the nation in developing and generating jobs. Though the Cooperatives Law has been introduced for nearly ten years, I wonder why the cooperative economy is still out of the general development campaign for the city’s economy," expressed Ms. Khanh.

Industrial food ration are prepared at Kim Son cooperative.

30 years in operation

Ho Chi Minh City Cooperative Alliance held its third congress for the 2006-2010 period at the City Hall on April 14. Participants reviewed its 30 years in operation and discuss measures to boost the development of cooperative economy.

The first consumer cooperative of Ho Chi Minh City was established in 1975 at District 8, initiating the debut of a consumer and marketing cooperative network in the entire city.

In only three years from 1976-1978, the network quickly expanded into a system of 241 consumer cooperatives inner Ho Chi Minh City and other 83 trading cooperatives in the suburbs.

Two major functions of the trading cooperatives were designed to assist effectively state-run-traders in delivering their goods at a fixed-price in accordance with the State’s instruction; to act as authorized dealers for national economic units to purchase agricultural, forestry and aquatic products.

Together with the trading cooperatives, some other cooperatives in agriculture, transport, industry, and handicraft production kicked off and were brought into operation later on.

From 1977 to 1981, when the city’s production witnessed a shortage of raw materials and there was a severe shortage of consumer products, especially food and foodstuffs, the cooperatives made valuable contributions in distributing goods to consumers, at the same time, solving the job problems and stabilizing the economic situation.

Particularly, in 1980, the small-scale industrial-handicraft cooperatives recycled 2,800 tons of plastic, 4,000 tons of broken glass and 800 tons of fabric scraps to produce the necessities for production and social life.

Further successful developing stages

The collective economy’s operation always goes together with the city’s economic rise and fall.

The cooperatives alliance encountered some difficulties in the 1986-1990 period, when the national economy was shifted from a subsidized to a market economy. Some cooperatives had to dissolve in an impasse from 1991 to 1995.

However, the contributions made by the cooperatives of Ho Chi Minh City in the entire 1975-1995 period are undeniable.

After the Cooperative Law was issued by the government in 1996, co-operative organizations were reformed, marking a turning point in the development of the city’s collective economy.

With the effective cooperation and support from the State and other relevant authorities, the cooperative economy of Ho Chi Minh City gradually recovered.

More Vietnamese consumers favor shopping in Co.opMart supermarket, a modern model of cooperative. (Photo:T.K)  

In the 1996-2001 period, the city’s cooperative alliance earned a 35% increase in its total capital. Also, its chattered capital was up fourfold, mainly because of an increase in the collective capitals of its cooperative members and in the resurrection of their properties after reformation.

Besides, the member cooperatives started to carry out their practical and feasible operation development plans.

Also in 1996, the Ho Chi Minh City Commercial Cooperative Alliance established the Cong Quynh Co.opMart supermarket, a modern model of cooperative’s operation at that time.

Currently, after ten years of operation, the new model has been expanded by the cooperative alliance into a network of 20 Co.opMart supermarkets and directly affiliated units.

In 2004, the total turnover of the Co.opMart system rocketed to over VND2.4 trillion, compared with only VND1.4 trillion in 2001. Besides, it was selected the leading retailer of Viet Nam and rated among the top 500 retailers in the Asia.

Thus, the cooperative economy has obviously been proved to be full of vitality via the cooperative’s growth in strength, especially when its operation is adjusted according to every period of the national economy’s development.

Together with the Co.opMart system, series of cooperatives with modern operation models were established and brought into operation effectively, among which were the housing cooperative, industrial food ration cooperative, marketing and market management cooperative and some transport cooperatives, which currently account for 90% of the city’s bus system.

By T.H – Translated by Trong Khuong

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