Review of Co-op Laws in Myanmar (1997)

This document has been made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)

Part II - Review of Country Laws in Myanmar (1997)

Source: Co-operative Laws in Asia and the Pacific
by G.K. Sharma (pp.120-124)

Indian Co-operative Act of 1904 and later an act of 1919 applied
to co-operatives in Myanmar. The first agricultural credit society
was registered in January 1905. Myanmar had an economic
depression from 1929 onwards and many co-operatives had to be
liquidated under a new co-operative act of 1927. This act continued
for around 30 years when it was replaced by the act of 1956. When
the Revolutionary Council came into power in 1962 it replaced the
1956 law by a co-operative law of 1970 in which co-operatives were
formed on territorial basis and they lost their voluntary character
and became part of the socialist economy. This law was again
repealed in 1992 which is much more democratic and is in
operation presently. 

The law effective from December 22, 1992 has 39 articles divided
into 10 Chapters and is the briefest cooperative law in the region.

Chapter 1 : Title and Definition
The definitions are usual definitions found in other cooperative law
except the definition of dividend which is as under : `dividend' means
money apportioned out of the net profits in accordance with the
stipulation for members, member societies, executive committee and
staff of the society. 

Chapter II : Basic Principles of the Society
There is only article 3 under this chapter which states various objectives
and functions in paragraphs (a) to (j) and are not related to the ICA
co-operative principles though they do not necessarily conflict with
the ICA co-operative principles.

Chapter III : Bye-laws and Formation of the Society
Under articles 4 and 5 the law authorises the promoters of the
co-operative to adopt bye-laws according to the nature of business
to be handled by the co-operative and approved by the General

Under article 6 membership requirement for registration are as under:

a. a primary co-operative society may be formed with at least
5 (five) persons in order to promote collectively the interests
of its members;

b. a co-operative syndicate may be formed with at least 3 (three)
primary co-operative societies in order to amalgamate in an equity
partnership according to the economic enterprise; 

c. a union of co-operative syndicated consisting of co-operative

d. the Central Co-operative Society may be formed consisting of
co-operative syndicates and unions of co-operative syndicates
which have already been formed;  and

e. if required by an economic enterprise, a co-operative society
may be formed separately by splitting up a co-operative society
which has already been formed or by amalgamating co-operative
societies which have already been formed. 

Chapter IV : Membership, Duties and Rights of a Member and
Cessation of Membership 
Article 9 provides that person having completed the age of 12 years
may be admitted as associate member in a primary co-operative society.

The other provisions are usual provision found in most co-operative laws.

Chapter V : Membership of a Member Society and Duties and
Rights of a Member Society
This chapter contains usual provisions applicable to members of
a secondary co-operative.

Chapter VI : Duties and Powers of a Society and Cessation of a Society
The provisions under this chapter are also normal provisions and there
is nothing worth highlighting or objectionable.

Chapter VII : Finance of the Society
The important provisions under the chapter are:

*       Expenditures incurred for the work undertaken by the Central
Co-operative Society in respect of dissemination of co-operative
concept and technique, promotion of co-operative spirit and
co-ordination among societies may be recovered proportionately
from the societies.

*       The society shall apportion the following funds by a resolution of
its general meeting:

a. business expansion fund for the expansion of the
economic enterprises of the society; 
b. social and cultural fund for the promotion of the social
and cultural activities; 
c. general fund for unforeseen losses and expenditures in
the business of the society. 

*       The society shall determine the following dividends according to
the financial year:

a. dividend on the share;
b. dividend on the investment;
c.      dividend for the executive committee members  and
staff of the society; and
c. refund for purchase or sale of goods.

Chapter VIII : Liquidation of the Society
The liquidator has to be appointed by the Director-General. The conditions
for liquidation are as usual. An appeal against the order of liquidation can
be made to the Minister within 60 days.

Chapter IX : Disputes
The provisions are as under:

*       The Director-General shall form a committee as may be necessary
with suitable citizens in order to investigate and submit disputes
between societies which are not member societies in a particular
society. The Director-General shall give a decision on the
investigations submitted by the Committee. The decision of the
Director-General shall be final and conclusive. 

*       The general meeting shall give a decision in disputes between a
society and a member or between a society and a member society
in respect of the transactions of a society.

*       The relevant Executive Committee shall give a decision in disputes
between members or between member societies in respect of the
transactions of a society.

Chapter X : Miscellaneous
Article 38 provides:

a. the Ministry of Co-operatives and the Department may issue rules
and procedures as may be necessary, with the approval of the
Government; and
b. the Ministry of Co-operative and the Department may issue orders
and directives as may be necessary. 

The law does have provision for further rules.