International Cooperative Day Message
Posted on June 30th, 2023

Dinesh Gunawardena Prime Minister Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

The cooperative movement, which originated in Europe in the 19th century, was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1906. The Sri Lankan people, with their past precedents of thrift and mutual help that transformed their human qualities into a strong program procedure, easily adapted to the cooperative concept.

Since then, the cooperative movement was able to boost the rural economy by empowering the people. During the First and Second World Wars as well as in times of epidemics and calamities, exceptional relief was provided to the people through the cooperatives.

Through every economic era, the cooperative has been the lifeblood of our country. It is truly an example of conveying the mutual friendship and bond of its entire membership to the society and the entire country.

Later the People’s Bank, started with the initiations of Ministers Philip Gunawardena and T.B. Ilangarathna added enormous strength to the cooperative movement. It was the time when the cooperative movement has become closer to the masses.

In 1956, the People’s Government passed the Multi Services Cooperative Societies Ordinance, which further revitalized the cooperatives from village to village and became a new economic hub. Various societies including thrift societies, credit-facility societies, farming societies, handicraft societies, textile societies, etc. have flowed into new fields in terms of production and sales.

The cooperative movement, which contributed to uplift the economy of rural people in every province, contributed excessively to the sustainable development of the country. The theme of the International Cooperative Day of this year, ‘Cooperative movement for Sustainable Development’, is most appropriate.

There are many examples that can be taken from the cooperative movement in using the country’s wealth and human resources for national development.

Today, as we celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives, we shall work together with this economic organization which is essential to overcome the current day challenges, and its membership and different levels of government to continue its invaluable service.

Dinesh Gunawardena

Prime Minister

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

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