This question has been plaguing some 20,000 micro- and small-scale enterprises that constitute 92% of registered cooperatives.
Under existing CDA regulations, all cooperative officers (board member, general manager, secretary, treasurer and member of audit/election/mediation committee) are required to attend a series of training courses over two years. Board members and general managers should take nine and eleven courses, respectively. Secretaries, treasurers and members of audit/election/mediation committees must finish between four and seven trainings.
Non-compliance with these educational standards will result in the erring coop’s loss of its CDA certificate of good standing. As a consequence, the cooperative will forego its tax exemption privileges.
On the other hand, training expenses are now extremely onerous, especially on new or small cooperatives. In Cebu, for example, a CDA-accredited training provider charges a P9,000 daily training fee, or P27,000 to conduct a three-day basic cooperative course. In addition, the coop concerned shoulders the trainors’ accommodations and meals, plus the cost of photocopying training materials.
It is estimated that a coop will be spending P60,000 to P70,000 (for registration fees, accommodations, meals, transportation, etc.) for each board member over a two-year period in order to meet the CDA’s requirements.
How can, say, a credit cooperative with assets of less than P3 million and a monthly income of P60,000 afford the costs of training its board members and other officers? By laying off some of its employees?
To aggravate matters, the CDA has imposed an accreditation fee of P50,000 for auditors of cooperatives. So, now, most cooperatives spend P15,000 for the services of an auditor, compared to the P3,000 to P5,000 they were paying previously.
Why is the CDA making business more difficult for cooperatives? Is it true that some incumbent CDA officials are reportedly acting as trainors/resource persons of a non-governmental training provider organized by retired CDA employees? Or that, in official CDA forums in the Central Visayas, receipts are issued allegedly not by the CDA but by a cooperative training provider established by current CDA employees?
Should the CDA be renamed “Cooperative Destruction Authority”?