Uruguayan Chamber of Senators approves a law on the social and solidarity economy

The law aims to advance the social and solidarity economy (SSE) in the country by establishing the definition and providing a regulatory and promotional policy framework for the SSE.

News | 09 January 2020
In December 2019, the Uruguayan Chamber of Senators approved the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) Law that aims to recognize and promote SSE organizations in Uruguay.

The first step was holding of discussions around the general Law on Cooperatives approved in 2008 and the ensuing establishment of the National Institute of Cooperativism (INACOOP). Since 2011, the National Coordinator of Solidarity Economy (CNES) has organized meetings on the SSE law with different stakeholders including policy makers, researchers and practitioners from the SSE organizations and other stakeholders. This process culminated in the creation of the first SSE bill in 2013 in a commission that brought together ministerial representatives, the University Solidarity Economy Network, and INACOOP. Conducting of additional research on SSE legislation in other countries (e.g. Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic) and a consultative process culminated in the first draft of the parliamentary law in 2017.

The new Law defines the purpose and principles of the SSE and lists different types of SSE entities (i.e. cooperatives, self-managed companies, rural development societies, artisanal networks, civil associations, foundations, and other legal figures in accordance with the principles). Among the other key elements of the law are:
  • INACOOP is designated as a driving force for public policies related to the promotion, training, accompaniment and financing of SSE projects;
  • The National Internal Audit Office (AIN) is designated as the supervisory body of SSE organizations;
  • The National Registry of the SSE organizations will be created and operated by INACOOP for the promotion of these organizations and as well as for statistical purposes;
  • The SSE Consultative Council (CESyS) will be created including representatives from relevant Ministries, the Congress of Mayors, INACOOP, SSE organizations, fair trade networks, and the University of the Republic, among others; and
  • SSE organizations that meet specified requirements could be included in the Public Procurement Programme for Development and obtain tax exemptions or exceptions.
INACOOP will support the establishment and operation of the CESyS, including the organization of annual National Conferences on SSE as a space for discussion of any relevant topics and proposals towards strengthening the SSE.