Govt’s small business training bears fruit

RETHABILE MOHONO

MASERU – The Ministry of Small Businesses Development, Cooperatives and Marketing, continues to register satisfactory results after embarking on a nationwide campaign to empower small businesses and cooperatives to sustain themselves and acquire skills and knowledge on how to operate within the set legal provisions of the country.

One of such beneficiaries is Blessings Savings and Credit Cooperative, a financial savings and credit cooperative which was initiated by women of the Seventh Day Adventists in 2015 as a burial society (Mpate Sheleng) but was later developed into a registered financial savings and credit scheme.

Situated at a local guest house, Blessings currently boasts over 260 members and since last year men have also started joining the cooperative. The cooperative offers services such as funeral cover, school fees loans, and various other short term loans facilities.

Last week Sunday marked the 5th annual general meeting where the cooperative invited the ministry of small business to observe the committee election, management report, financial report, and budget. Speaking at the general meeting, treasurer of the cooperative, Sylvester John Amoako said their long term goal is to have even more members joining the cooperative and to increase products to satisfy members’ needs.

On the other hand, chairman at Blessings, ‘Masenate Seetsa, said ever since the introduction of this cooperative in 2015, it has been growing steadily. “There have been challenges with people who delay to settle their loans, but ever since they saw how serious we are in ensuring this cooperative a success, people are starting to respect and work according to the rules,” she said.

Refiloe Mojaki from the information office at the Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing ministry said since 2012 the ministry has registered at least 105 savings and credit cooperatives and trained them on development of business ideas, savings mobilisation, rules and regulations governing savings and credit cooperatives, record keeping, product development, costing and price and loan management.

“The ministry ensures that this kind of businesses are given proper training for them to run smoothly and benefit people who are in them,” Mojaki said, adding that the ministry has been training various cooperatives to ensure there is transparency in bookkeeping.

She further mentioned that Blessings is one of the cooperatives that benefited from the trainings and thus the ministry was proud to observe their constitutional meeting. “Apart from the ministry’s training sessions, we are aware that members of this cooperative attended various other training opportunities to advance their knowledge outside the country, which shows how dedicated the members are to the cooperative,” she said.

As part of its mandate and in ensuring that small businesses make a difference in the lives of Basotho, the Ministry of Small Businesses is also opening up opportunities for recipients of such trainings to access funding before further training them to boost their businesses.

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