OUTLOOK — By Ali Al Matani — Consumer co-operatives are not new or strange to us to predict their failure and raise uncertainty around them in the Sultanate. It is an experience worthy of implementation and the current generation of officials have gone through the experience of consumer co-operatives and their distributions of profits as a very simple model not for comparison, but to demonstrate the importance of co-operatives in our lives and their role in our economy. This puts us in front of a popular choice that demands co-operatives and it is important to implement this in Oman like in other countries that have proved successful. Then why are we trying to kill the project in its cradle?
There is no doubt that consumer co-operatives in any country are not one of complications that cause us to hesitate in its creation, especially if the government and citizens co-operate to make the project successful. Then this will be one of the best consumer shops in the country and will support the culture of co-operatives in Omani society and their importance in our daily lives in the face of the various life challenges faced by citizens in many aspects. The promotion of co-operation among human beings is the message of the United Nations and the goal of the international community and we are faced with the choice to be with these options, or resign ourselves to a number of traders who control prices, and tomorrow they may control food and its delivery to citizens.
The establishment of co-operatives in the Sultanate will restore the desired balance to the Omani market in the light of the challenges created by the expansion of foreign hypermarkets and the related social, economic, and cultural dangers. There are groups that do not pay attention to or deliberately overlook the seriousness of the control of a few shops in the market and the related future risks on many aspects of the country. The establishment of co-operatives shall of course break this penetration into the market. It is to be noted that we are at a serious critical juncture of serious re-balance in the market in the ways that society deems appropriate.
One of the gains of co-operatives is to reduce the depletion of funds abroad and sales of hypermarkets and foreign transfers that weaken economies. Over time, the funds of these co-operatives will circulate in the market and the society in the form of profits for the people who shall take part in them. This is an economic aspect that must not be neglected while referring to the advantages of consumer cooperatives in Oman. They shall also reduce the high prices and put them in its proper context.
The prices of all co-operatives in the world are less than what is sold in the market in addition to their social role. These are among the goals desired by the government for the reduction of price burden on citizens and give them a decent life. Therefore, co-operatives should not be overlooked and leave a few people to control the community to the gallows of prices that rise continuously and relentlessly.
Oman is a historic country and Omani people are self-made who went through difficult experiences. Therefore, we do not believe that it would be difficult for Omanis to manage simple co-operatives. It only needs conviction and a decision so that each wilayat can have a co-operative in which the government contributes with half a million Riyals and opens the same for subscription of half a million Riyals.
Co-operative may be created for the establishment of such ventures and the government grants land in the wilayats for these co-operatives. In this way the wheel shall begin to spin in this area without any complications that take further time and effort.
Omani society waits for steps to be taken for the creation of these co-operatives. This should be studied in the light of the concepts of community and we should not dilute such projects and let them cancelled especially if they conflict with some interests of those who see only their interests. We are faced with the choice to break the barrier of fear raised by some people who no longer have a place in a society that is continuously renewed.
We hope to complete these studies of the co-operatives by neutral entities away from the conflict of interests so that they can provide us with accurate indicators of the essence of these co-operatives and their social and economic implications and their role in reducing the burden of prices for the masses. These studies should not be short-sighted in their perspectives.