Business community welcomes the budget


Bereng Mpaki

THE Chief Executive Officer of Lesotho Postbank, Molefi Leqhaoe, has welcomed the move by government to consolidate its financial assistance towards development of business enterprises to reduce unemployment.

In his budget speech, the Minister of Finance, Moeketsi Majoro said the government was impressed with the progress made under the Partial Credit Guarantee Fund run by the Ministry of Small Business Development that they were considering supporting the ministry with more funds.

“The Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing has since October been running the Partial Credit Guarantee Fund and is reporting rapid lending with 61 new guarantees amounting to M11.9 million in a space of only five months.

“The impact of this must be understood: 61 businesses have been able to undertake new investments, expand operations, and sustain their businesses. While we do not know how many new jobs have been created, it is encouraging to see the life coming back into this fund. Following a rapid assessment of the scheme, government will consider additional guarantees to the scheme,” Dr Majoro said.

Speaking to Lesotho Times on the sidelines of the budget speech, Mr Leqhaoe said the move to empower small businesses would lead to economic development.

“I was especially impressed to observe that small businesses are going assistance with more funding and that is good as small businesses are important in driving any economy.

My plea is that the money should be paid on time,” Mr Leqhaoe said.

He also welcomed government’s effort of venturing into commercial agriculture and said the focus should be on setting up appropriate infrastructure to go with it.

“For agriculture we need to focus on infrastructure so that we can respond to the challenges presented by climate change. For instance, we need to have in place irrigation infrastructure, so that our farmers should worry about when it will rain. We should be looking for more innovative ways of farming.

“We cannot deny that many livelihoods depend on agriculture and we need to ensure that it is done properly.”

Also commenting on the budget speech, Managing Director of Bashoeshoe Pele Car Rental company, Poppie Madonsela said government’s move to allow a wide range of Basotho entities to lease vehicles to government was a positive development indicating government commitment to support local enterprises.

She however, warned that the initiative should be done in a transparent manner to avoid being viewed as a political ploy just intended to reward dealers who are government supporters.

Dr Majoro had earlier on indicated that before the end of March 2018, government will announce a program to procure vehicles on lease from Basotho. “Various groups of Basotho including fleet operators, youth groups, disabled groups and others will be able to own and lease vehicles to the government. This decision will also provide opportunities for dealers and equipment manufacturers to set up businesses in Lesotho as government will deal only with providers incorporated in the Kingdom. Additional services will include fleet services and maintenance.”

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