The Registry of Co-operative Societies (RCS) is inviting the public to provide feedback on the amendments to the Co-operative Societies Act (“Act”). This public consultation will run till 10 January 2024 (Wednesday).
Co-operative Societies (or 'co-ops') in Singapore are governed by the Co-operative Societies Act (“Act”) and are regulated by the Registry of Co-operative Societies (“Registry” or RCS), which is under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. While the Registry regulates the sector, the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (“SNCF”) is the industry body responsible for promoting and developing the sector.
The Act underwent its latest revision in 2018 with the goal of improving the competence and governance standards of co-ops. This update aimed to boost regulatory powers to safeguard the interests of co-op members and support the growth and functioning of co-ops.
The upcoming changes to the Act are intended to further streamline co-op operations, offer clear legal guidance on specific provisions within the Act, and make technical adjustments to keep the Act current.
Over the years, co-ops have feedbacked to RCS on regulatory limitations affecting their operations, notably regarding the restricted use of reserves to advance their members' interests. Presently, co-ops are solely permitted to announce dividends based on the surplus from the previous year. Consequently, certain co-ops have had to declare reduced or no dividends. This issue has raised significant concerns, especially in the current volatile environment.
RCS is proposing ammendments to the Act to broaden the use of reserves, facilitate co-ops' operations, provide legal clarity, and stay updated with current practices.
Check out the full proposed ammendments on the bill here.
What to do?
The public and local co-ops can submit their comments and feedback via email to email@example.com, by indicating “Public Consultation on Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill 2023” in the subject line by 10 January 2024.
Check out the following:
RCS has proposed the following pointers for the feedback:
1. Do indicate name and representing organisation (if applicable) and contact details.
2. Do focus comments on how the legislative amendments can be better written to make them clearer and to make compliance easier, or on how the policy changes can be improved.
3. Do quote the relevant Section(s) of the Act. If applicable, you should provide your suggested edits to the Section(s) of the Act