MSMEs hold forum to empower Basotho businesses



MASERU – The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Association held the Basotho Business Empowerment Forum on Wednesday this week, aiming to stimulate Basotho-owned enterprises across all sectors of the national economy. ’Malitlou Morojele, representing the MSMEs Association, underscored the imperative of Basotho involvement in foreign investment ventures.

She stressed the necessity for Basotho to actively engage in industrial roles tailored for their participation. “Foreign entities currently dominate Lesotho’s business landscape, marginalising Basotho. The crux of the matter lies in foreign profits exiting the country rather than being reinvested locally,” Morojele said, offering strategies to invigorate the domestic economy.

In the same forum, Orifitlhetse Masire, a board member of Business Botswana, lauded Basotho’s admiration for Botswan’s strides in indigenous business ownership. Masire stressed the significance of implementing Citizen Economic Empowerment (CEE) initiatives and official policies. She proposed establishing business councils at various tiers, including at district and village levels, to bolster the nation’s economic standing.

Masire also stressed the importance of employing a consultative approach to advocate for the interests of private sector stakeholders and employers, advocating for oversight bodies like the National Planning Commission (NPC), Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA). Moholo Lekomola, representing Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL), underscored the critical importance of stringent tax regulations and compliance.

He emphasised that tax compliance entails the comprehensive registration of all tax obligations, meticulous maintenance of accurate records and documentation, timely filing of tax returns, accurate declaration of taxable incomes, and punctual payment of taxes. Lekomola said being tax-compliant is paramount for every citizen.

Meanwhile, former Mining Minister, Lebohang Thotanyana presented statistical data and analytical insights on the economic landscape, focusing on major projects in Lesotho, including the infrastructure development of the newly constructed national hospital in Maseru. Additionally, he addressed the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) project, which necessitates a six-month hiatus in the water sector as part of ongoing development endeavours.

“Recognise the monetary value chain inherent in Lesotho’s infrastructure projects, wherein Basotho expertise engaged in local project execution should originate from Basotho-owned businesses. This approach facilitates the sourcing of supplies from Basotho, with the resulting project goods utilised by Basotho residents, funded by Basotho residing in Lesotho,” he said.

Addressing financial inclusion through localised value circulation, Thotanyana explained how this monetary flow fosters domestic circulation, thereby augmenting the country’s economic strength. “In essence, enacting laws that prioritise and support Basotho-owned enterprises is imperative. The circulation of Maloti within Lesotho empowers Basotho. Both local and foreign contracts and procurement must be allocated in a manner that recognises and values local corporate contributions,” he concluded.

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