A Cooperative Society is a voluntary association of individuals, united by common bond, who have come together to pursue their economic goals for their own benefits. Cooperative Societies are governed by the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act which provide for the registration of Cooperative Societies. The registration of Cooperative Societies is effected at the Office of National Civil Registration.
Different Societies have different requirements as listed below:
- An agricultural Society must have no less than fifty (50) members;
- A saving and credit Cooperative Society must have at least 20 members;
- People with specialized skills must have at least ten (10) members;
- Other types of Cooperative Societies must have at least ten (10) members.
In order for a group to be registered as Cooperative Society, members must satisfy the following conditions;
- A Member must be at least fifteen (15) years of age and above;
- The Board members should be at least eighteen (18)years of age;
- Every member must have a common need with other members of the society;
- Every member must be in an occupation relevant to the primary Society;
- A member must be capable of paying fees and buying shares.
Required Information for Registration
A Society intending to be registered should have the following;
- Proposed name of the Society
- Proposed location
- Objectives of the Society
- Purposes, to which funds may be applied, may be held, disposed of or invested.
- Membership rules (terms of admission, entrance fees, etc)
- By-Laws of the Society
Documents for Registration
The following documents are to be filed during registration
- A certified copy of the Resolution passed at the first meeting of the group with the Province Cooperative Officer (PCO).
- Feasibility study report on how the Society operates.
- Four copies of proposed by-laws of the Society.
- Letter of intent (to join the society) from prospective members.
Procedure for Registration
1. Make an application for registration to the Director of Cooperatives and payment of registration fee to register a Cooperative Society;
2. The application shall be signed and in the case of -
- A primary society, by at least 10 individuals qualified for membership of the Society,
- A secondary Society which has a registered Society as member, by a duly authorized member on behalf of every such registered Society, and where all members of the Society are not registered Societies, by 10 other members and when they are less than 10 members, by all the members.
3. The submitted documents shall be assessed;
4. After assessment, if the Director is satisfied, a letter of recognition will be issued which will enable the group to operate as a Cooperative Society for 3 years;
5. After 3 years, a Certificate of Registration will be issued, with a Certified Copy of the by-laws.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.