Three New Cooperatives Aim to Develop the Economy in Manbij

This is a translation of an Arabic article by by Kameran Khojah and Cîwan Ahmed that first appeared on Hawar News 13 September, 2017.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Manbij [Minbic / Mumbuj] has been working to open three projects that will help the development of society, create job opportunities, curb monopoly and reduce unemployment.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which belongs to the Economic Committee in Manbij, is preparing to form three cooperative societies to operate a shopping mall, an electric generator in the village of Fars Alghnam, and an agricultural and veterinarian pharmacy that the people of Manbij can join by buying shares.

This unique step is the first of its kind in Manbij. The Chamber laid out guidelines for the cooperative societies with a list of conditions, some of which are that the coops should not be based on ethnic or sectarian divisions, and that they shouldn’t be capitalistic.

In order to find out more about the projects that the cooperatives will run, Hawar News met Sadiq Amin Mohamed Khalaf, an administrator in the Chamber.

Shopping mall

Sadq Amin said that the Chamber will open a shopping mall in Manbij that will have 1,000 shares available. The price for a share is 50,000 SYP [Syrian Pounds], and the cost of the project is 50,000,000 SYP.

Sadiq said that the people in Manbij can join the project by paying 50,000 SYP to the Chamber, which will supervise the project. One person can buy up to 20 shares.

The shopping mall will only sell food products, but in the future it will start selling clothes and vegetables. The profits will be collected together and distributed among the participants. That is what makes this venture different to the privately owned malls, where all the profits go to only one person. With this mall, everyone will benefit. A participant can withdraw their money after six moths if they want, or buy more shares, up to a total of 20. The mall’s employees should have a number of shares that are set by the Economic Committee.”

Sadiq also said that the mall will have a positive impact on the market in Manbij, and that the black market will end, because the management of the mall will buy all the products that come from abroad and distribute them in the market, which will help regulate the prices. There will also be a customs committee that will monitor the prices of products and fine those who violate the regulations.

The Chamber of Commerce has found a hall on Rawda Street near Al-Lamba roundabout in the centre of Manbij. The administrators are waiting for all the shares to be bought before starting work.

Sadiq said that this mall will reinforce the communal work ethic, create jobs, improve the living standards and curb monopoly.

Electric generator and the agricultural and veterinarian pharmacy

The electric generator will be run by another cooperative society in the village of Fars Al-Ghnam, which lies 17 kilometres east of Manbij. Participation in this project is also through shares.

Ten people from the village have joined the coop. Each person can only buy one share, which costs $1,600, on the condition that an amp should be sold for 1,750 and that it should work for only eight hours per day. Sadiq confirmed that the purpose of the project is not to make a profit, but to serve the people in the village.

The generator hasn’t started working yet; it due to start within four to five days.

The agricultural and veterinarian pharmacy is similar to the mall project. Participants should be members of the agricultural committees or employees of the Economic Committee. The participants in the pharmacy can buy up to three shares at 250,000 SYP per share.

The Chamber of Commerce found a place close to the mall to open the agricultural and veterinarian pharmacy. Work has started to sell the shares and once it is finished the pharmacy will open, and it will become a centre that will cover all the agricultural and veterinarian needs of the area.

The profits of the electric generator and the pharmacy will be collected every six months, and participants will be given the option whether they would want to continue or withdraw their money.

The effects of these projects

Sadiq Amin said that the essential purpose of these cooperatives is to boost the market, improve the economy and reduce unemployment. Participation in these cooperatives is open for everyone in Manbij, and when these cooperative succeed there will be more in the future.