The Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business launched a consultation process aimed at strengthening the legal framework governing co-operative societies in Malta.

Various information sessions were held on January 28, 2014 at Dar il-Koperattivi, Melita Street, Valletta. The Ministry’s representatives Mr Blaine Camilleri and Mr Matthew Vella, together with the Co-operatives Board Chairperson, Ms Francis Mifsud, met representatives of the Malta Co-operative Federation, Koperattivi Malta, as well representatives of individual co-operative societies.

The consultation process was initiated following the Government’s acknowledgement in the last Budget Speech, that the current legal framework  within which Co-operatives  operate locally needs to be revised and  updated  to reflect the developments taking place in the sector, and the challenges faced by Co-operatives  in the present day.

The consultation process is aimed at getting feedback on the difficulties and burdens resulting from the current legislation, as well as to identify possible recommendations that may be considered for future implementation. The Co‑operative Societies Act (Cap. 442), enacted in 2001, has not been reviewed to date.

Now that the the Malta Co-operative Federation has strongly come into play within the co-operative movement its representatives and its member societies stressed on the importance of changing the Central Co-operative Fund regulations to reflect the intentions announced in the Budget Speech 2014 before the coming into force of the new amendments to the main legislation.

MCF representatives also proposed to reduce the minimum number of members that may form a co-operative society currently at five members to three members, at least with respect to worker co-operatives. This would help in the formation of potentially successful co-operatives in Malta.

The Malta Co-operative Federation’s proposal to be consulted again at a later stage once the first draft of the amended Co-operatives legislation is available, prior to the Bill being presented to Cabinet and subsequently Parliament has been taken on by Minister Cardona.

The consultation period is open till March 25, 2014. Recommendations can be sent to [email protected]