The Bolivian cooperative legislation is contained in national law No. 356 called the General Law on Cooperatives published in the Official Journal of Bolivia on April 11, 2013, and the Regulations of the General Law of Cooperatives put into effect by Decree No. 1995 of May 13, 2014. It should be clarified that, although it is a decentralized country with autonomy, by constitutional mandate on the basis of the residual clause, substantive and adjective legislation on cooperative matters falls within the competence of the central level of the State; providing, as exclusive competence of the central level of the State, basic services policies, that is, that this level of government in this area has legislative, regulatory and executive authority, being able to transfer and delegate the latter two.
To obtain approval of resolutions or regulations, there is an exaggerated bureaucracy that, compared to a private company, makes obtaining legal status more complicated. The Political Constitution of the State, Laws and Regulations to the Law, are good, except that they do not contemplate associated work cooperatives.
The State's Political Constitution considers the cooperative sector in 12 articles. There, it promotes the purchase and participation of the cooperative sector, even in sectors where the state closes participation in the particular private sector. Likewise, the law and regulation are very favorable in their drafting, lacking only processes of practical applicability. For the promotion of cooperatives, there is even a state body, which is the Directorate of Public Policy and Cooperative Development. It is important to note that the drafting of the Law on Cooperatives of Bolivia, had the direct participation of the cooperative sectors, who developed proposals in all its articles.
Notwithstanding the above issues, Bolivian legislation is very much in favor of cooperatives.
Key recommendations for improvement
- The creation of specific legislation for the sector of associated work cooperatives is necessary.
- Special legislation on administrative procedures, where the operational practice is contemplated in order to shorten the response times from the state to the sector's processes, as well as the training of the population and the state within the model.
- The insertion of tax incentives, the sector does not differ from others in this aspect and even has double taxes in some cases.
- Legislation incorporating Associated Work Cooperatives is required.
- It is important that cooperatives also have their own sectoral legislation.
It should be noted that we only have the responses of one ICA member, which is generally consistent with the expert's opinion, so its integration into the report has not had setbacks. In any event, the different declarations and documents drawn up by the cooperative movement in recent times have also been taken into account, whether they are general in nature or referenced particularly to certain sectors.
The legal frameworks analysis is a tool developed under the ICA-EU Partnership #coops4dev. It is an overview of the national legal frameworks at the time of writing. The views expressed within are not necessarily those of the ICA, nor does a reference to any specific content constitute an explicit endorsement or recommendation by the ICA.