Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Business development division set up for CUs

Published: Tuesday November 4, 2008

The Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development has set up a business development unit for credit unions with its Co-operative Development Division.

Labour Minister Rennie Dumas said the unit will provide assistance and guidance to credit unions for the development of their strategic and business plans.

“The strategy aims to build the capacity for forward planning to better weather the socio-economic challenges.”

Dumas made the comments as the feature speaker at a cocktail reception last Friday at the Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s to mark the end of International Credit Union Month (October). The theme of the celebrations was ‘My credit union, it belongs to me’.

He said that strategic and business plans should aim to capture varying and relevant management systems which prepare the organisation with strategic decision making support and knowledge management systems.

“I urge all societies to further develop scenario planning strategies which aim to cushion the environmental impacts on the credit union,” said the minister.

“We must no longer rely on the good luck approach to success. We must no longer rely on hope of doing the right thing at the right time, as may have been the case of Caroni-based co-operatives after the closure of Caroni (1975) Limited. Although these societies may not have employed scenario planning, the fact that they survived speaks volumes to the leadership and member resilience. The use of scenario planning approach may have put these societies in an even better position today.”

Credit unions have been in existence in T&T for sixty years, with varying degrees of success. Credit union membership now stands at more than 500,000 people.

Dumas said that a major benchmark in the life of the movement was the challenge of the economic slowdown of the 1980s.

“This period proved to be the catalyst for strengthening of the co-operative movement,” he said. “During those trying times, credit unions became the economic pillars upon which the people continued to realise their goals, improve their quality of life and overall standard of living. Credit unions became a safe haven for the savings and investments of the people and a dependable source of credit.

“This recessionary period of the 1980’s saw the positioning of the movement as the ‘backbone’ of the economy.”

Source: Trinidad Guardian Newspapers

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