In recent times one of such new business ideas that has caught the attention of the populace is the BARAZA MULTIPURPOSE COOPERATIVE, a novel idea that is phenomenal and has changed the thinking in cooperatives circles.
Baraza came as a cooperative and within a short period of one year, it has brought more progress report than many businesses due to peaceful working environment in many states.
In the inspiring words of the CEO Architect Miebi Bribena, the idea came with the purpose of wiping out poverty in the land of Bayelsa and its environs.
Cooperatives generally as we know is a business idea where people come together to form a group and contribute its funds to fund an idea and share her profit and loses. Thus Baraza was founded on such novel but promising thought .
The CEO has brought people from diverse backgrounds, ethnic colorations to form a mighty business empire whose major trade is online forex trading.
But unlike other online forex businesses, it operates as a cooperative and uses the joint contributive fund to trade in forex and the profit is shared among her members .
In the last one year owing to the phenomenal success of the cooperative, it has extended its empire beyond the borders of Bayelsa and has taken the toga of the most successful business cooperative in the last ten years . Today her membership is beyond forty thousand.
As part of her criteria, a willing member will register and contribute fund to the joint capital and is paid a whopping up to twenty five percent profit for his/her contributions monthly.
It also has compound package where members funds are traded for a period of one year and the cumulative of fifteen percent is then paid.
The package has been most welcome and has touched several families within the last one year and two months of its establishment. No doubt the testimonies are amazing as they are inspiring. From ease of tuition payment to rent and to building of houses to buying of cars and other essentials.
However, as known in the online forex circles volatility as it is called is unstable and takes very determined skill and analytical minds to be able to trade and make substantial profit . Thus this rare feat by Architect Miebi Bribena to have managed such huge amount of members successfully is worth commending .
In recent times however , payments have become a bit late beginning from the end of the month of February. The reason upon investigation arose from changes in the DERIV BROKER change of rules guiding withdrawal of profits from the accounts .
The initial policy was that a trader can withdraw his profits within two to five working days . Thus a trader can comfortably trade for twenty five days and apply to withdraw such profits for the purpose of usage or payment to her customers .
However , this rule has changed to five to fifteen working days. The implication is that one cannot in the circumstance trade for a period of thirty or twenty five days . This is because as a trader trading with people’s fund with clear timelines on payment of profit on trade, it is impossible to trade for a full month or close given the amount of days required to withdraw profits from ones account .
This singular regulation will now reduce trading man hours and thus affect the ability to meet up the expected target profit.
However, inspite of this development, the CEO has continued to meet its obligations up to part of March 2021.
But in meeting up payments there are delays which are clearly not self made but necessary realities upon the glaring policy change .
But surprisinzingly, this little development has made some very negative minds to begin a campaign of calumny against the cooperative . They have attempted to make a parallel of this clear realistic scheme to a Ponzi scheme .
They did not stop there but attempted unsuccessfully to equate Baraza scheme to the MBA, another forex business that lasted for a few years and had issues that made payment to its members impossible leading to loses .
Clearly, there is no parallel between MBA and the Baraza Multipurpose Cooperative. A close look with reveal the differences which is the work of a clever mind.
Flowing from the issues that entangled MBA the CEO was clear in his goal and the need to take precautionary steps to protect and ensure that such fate as experienced by MBA is averted .
Thus firstly, while MBA was registered as a financial business outfit, Baraza was registered as a cooperative. The reality of this ingenious plan is that while the financial business or house is regulated under the act by security and exchange commission, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Special Crime Unit on Money Laundering, Baraza is regulated by its own rules binding it by the Bye-laws
Another novel implications is that Baraza cannot be investigated by security agencies for not meeting required standards . The reason is that the cooperative Bye-laws are clear as membership is voluntary and risk is shared as profit is also shared . This is indeed the thin line that distinguishes it from other forex businesses .
One of the clear indicators of a failing scheme is the inability of the business to meet its goals . As of today being the 22nd of March, 2021 Baraza has not stopped paying those who are due for the month of March, though there are delays whose causes are clearly unavoidable. The few isolated cases whose payments have not been made is as a result of multiple reasons arising from double payment issues to time of changing of made profits to naira for payments . Subsequently march payments will be cleared as profit comes from the withdrawals already requested from the broker.
It is also not true that Baraza is another Ponzi scheme as peddled by her detractors . Studies have shown that no Ponzi scheme has lasted beyond six months .
As stated in the earlier part of this article, businesses fold up as a result of a combination of reasons .
The careful steps taken by Baraza has shown a consistent and conscious efforts to protect members monies .
There is therefore no need for members of the cooperative to panic or loose sleep when the CEO has expressed the clarity of mind and focus in managing cooperative members fund to meet projected profits inspite of the volatile nature of the forex trade .
What is urgently required at this moment is for cooperation understanding and motivation. These are the essential ingredients needed to steer the boat in the right direction knowing that it is all about shared risk and shared profit .
One must not end this piece without commending the CEO, Pastor Miebi Bribena for such audacious initiative.
Success in any case is driven by men who see beyond the ordinary and are willing to take such risk and therefore this is not an exception but must be truly commended .
JM Igolukumoh writes from Amabulu community in Ekeremor local government area of Bayelsa State and a beneficiary .