How to Register a Cooperative Society in Nigeria
Cooperative Society is a jointly owned commercial enterprise duly registered and managed by individuals of the same purpose and for the benefit of members. Cooperative Societies in Nigeria are governed by the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act which provides for the registration of Cooperative Societies.
The Cooperative society according to the Nigeria Law on Cooperation is considered a legal entity, has its seperate bank account, balance sheet, stamp etc.
The Office of the Federal Directorate of Cooperatives formerly under the Ministry of Agriculture but was moved to the Ministry of Labour and Productivity in 2015 is in charge of Cooperatives in Nigeria.
Registration of Cooperative Societies is carried out by different offices under different Ministries depending on the state of registration.
For a state like Enugu, the Ministry saddled with the responsibility of registering a cooperative is the Ministry of Human Capital Development and Poverty Alleviation located at Secretariat building. For Ogun state, it’s the Ministry of Community Development and Cooperatives. For Anambra, it’s the office of Cooperatives under the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export and for Lagos State, it’s the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.
So the office registering cooperative societies in Nigeria defers according to state of registeration.
Today, I will share with you how to register a cooperative society in Nigeria, the necessary fees and what you require to get started.
But before I do this, I will first share with you the different categories of cooperative in Nigeria and then you can choose the particular type of cooperative you should register depending on your goals.
Categories of Cooperative Society in Nigeria
There are three (3) Major categories of cooperative society in Nigeria namely;
- Agricultural Cooperative Society (Also known as Farmers Cooperative) – Meant for farmers.
- Saving and Credit Cooperative Society (Also known as Microfinance Cooperative) – Meant for members that contribute fund together and lend to members for personal or business purpose.
- Multi-purpose Cooperative Society (General Cooperative) – Meant for general purpose.
Other forms of cooperative may fall under those categories.
Who is eligible to be a member of a cooperative in Nigeria?
To be a member of a cooperative society in Nigeria, members must be at least sixteen (16) years, except that in the case of a school co-operative society, then the age limit shall not apply.
Minimum membership requirements of the different categories of cooperative society
To register any of the above listed cooperative societies, you must have at least;
- Agricultural Cooperative Society – Minimum 50 members
- Saving and Credit Cooperative Society – Minimum 20 members
- Multi-purpose Cooperative Society – Minimum 10 members
Information/Document required for registration
The following is required to successfully register a cooperative in Nigeria;
- Proposed name of the society.
- Proposed location of the society (example Local Government Area and address)
- Objectives of the Cooperative
- Membership rules (Example Terms of joining, entrance fee, penalty etc)
- Four (4) copies of proposed by-laws of the Society
- Letter of intent
- Feasibility study on how the cooperative intend to operate
- Certified copy of resolution passed at the first meeting of members with the cooperative officer.
- Official stamp duty of the cooperative (To be tendered after name selection, availability and approval)
Procedure for registering a cooperative
- An application is made to the Director of Cooperatives requesting your intention to be duly registered as a Cooperatives Society.
- The application must be duly signed by the minimum required members depending on the category of cooperative. For example, 10 persons must sign if you are applying for a multi-purpose cooperative society.
- A form is issued to the members to fill in their details and return while a name search is made to ascertain availability.
- Upon availability, a stamp bearing the cooperatives name and logo with other documents (listed above) shall be submitted for verification and approval.
- After verification, if the Director of Cooperatives is satisfied, a letter of recognition is issued. This letter gives the cooperative approval to operate as a cooperative society for 3 years.
- A certificate of Registration with the certified copy of the by-laws governing the cooperative will be issued after 3 years. (Note: The number of years of certificate issuance could be less in some states)
Cost of Registering a Cooperative Society in Nigeria
The fees payable for registering a cooperative society defer according to the category of interest and subject to the state.
What you pay in Lagos state may be different from what you are required to pay in Kano, Sokoto or Ebonyi States.
From my experience, on the course of registering a multipurpose cooperative for a group I belong, depending on the individuals involved, I noticed that an already made template of documents required for registration are available with the cooperative officer in the local government, they can also assist you in compiling these documents thereby reducing the stress of contacting a lawyer to write by-laws for your society.
This cooperative officer will also assist in running the photocopies and binding the documents as well as submit this document for approval.
This will help reduce the risk of making mistakes and also making sure that the necessary information is attached before moving the document to the director for verification and approval.
I advise you to join or set up a cooperative society run by like minds with same purpose and goals. Make sure your cooperative have its own bank account with more than one signatory. Members must strictly abide by the rules governing the cooperative and if any member is found wanting, a penalty in form of fee or otherwise suggested by members of the cooperative is given to the defaulter irrespective of the position such a one is holding in the society. Have a target number of members your society won’t exceed.
Follow link to Download the NIGERIAN CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES ACT.
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