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‘Goods prices in markets lower than most co-ops’

 KUWAIT CITY, July 2: The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor intends to privatize the cooperative societies, reports Al-Seyassah daily quoting Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and State Minister for Planning and Development Affairs Hend Al-Subaih. Al-Subaih disclosed the ministry is conducting a study to look into all aspects of privatizing the cooperative societies.

She said the ministry has started collecting previous studies in this regard. She added a specialized team consisting of economic experts to lay down the mechanism for the project. In a related development, sources from the ministry revealed some people have expressed objection to the privatization of cooperative societies.

These people inquired if the cooperative societies are performing their role properly, if they control the prices of commodities and if they carry out social activities. They claimed the prices of goods in parallel markets are lower than those sold in cooperative societies, while their social activities is limited to the organization of ‘Umrah’ (minor hajj) and distribution of fresh water in various occasions. They went on to say most cooperative societies have become political entities and bridges for those who want to occupy seats in the National Assembly.

They claimed the cooperative societies are being used to serve tribal and sectarian interests. On the other hand, Head of Cooperative Societies Union Ali Hussein pointed out the process of privatizing the cooperative societies is part of the four-year development plan. He said the ministry is the concerned authority in this domain and the union did not yet receive the project.

Furthermore, board member of Al-Qadsiya Cooperative Society Abdulaziz Al-Othman explained the process of privatizing the cooperative societies is against the constitutional stipulation on protecting properties and capital, particularly since this money is not public fund. He stressed there is no legal principle allows the ministry to manage private funds.

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