STANDARD Lesotho Bank this week handed over 12 market stalls to the Butha-Buthe community as a gift for King Letsie III’s birthday which was held in that district in 2018.
The stalls worth M70 000, were built in the Butha-Buthe taxi rank for 12 community members who were running their businesses under umbrellas and plastic shacks.
The handover ceremony was graced by the Butha-Buthe area chief, the district administrator, All Basotho Convention (ABC) legislator Motloi Maliehe and the Standard Lesotho Bank staff.
One of the beneficiaries, Itumeleng Noko, said she was delighted to finally have a decent place where she will run her business. She told the Lesotho Times that for the past 10 years, she has been using an umbrella which she had to change frequently as it often broke because of hash weather conditions.
“I never thought this day would come,” Ms Noko said.
“When Standard Bank people came last year to tell us the good news, I had little faith because some people have disappointed us with empty promises in the past.”
Ms Noko expressed gratitude to the bank and said she was delighted that she would now be able to grow her business into what she has always dreamed of.
“I was forced to sell certain wares which could not be affected by heat but now that I have this stall, I can now expand even into selling food because my wares will be safe,” she said.
For his part, Standard Lesotho Bank chief executive Mpho Vumbukani said the gesture to donate market stalls was their way of contributing to the country’s economic growth.
He said this would also help in creating employment and alleviate poverty.
“This is not our first time to carry out similar projects as we have done the same in districts such as Qacha’s Nek, Leribe and Mafeteng,” Mr Vumbukani said.
He revelled that they got assistance from two Butha-Buthe businessmen who bank with Standard Bank namely Daniel Lithakong, who owns Modali Trading and Matela Mojapela of MM Finance.
“Their assistance is proof that if we work together as businesses in Lesotho the country’s economy can grow,” Mr Vumbukani said.
For her part, Standard Lesotho Bank’s Butha-Buthe branch manager, Amelia Phaloane, said the gift was their way of showing support to the small businesses.
“This shows that we support you and we see your importance and your role in the country’s economy,” Ms Phaloane said.
She urged the beneficiaries to guard their stall jealously to ensure that they can also hand them over to others in future.