THE Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing has urged vendors to bank their profits as part of measures to grow their businesses.
Small Business Development Director, Setlaba Monaheng, made the call while addressing a public gathering at Pitso Ground in Maseru yesterday.
The gathering was held to share information on the different opportunities offered to vendors by companies such as Lesotho Post Bank, Alliance Insurance and Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO).
“It is time we stopped calling you ‘street vendors’ and start calling you ‘small business owners’ because of growth of your business,” Mr Monaheng said, adding the ministry was in the processes of building usable sheds for street vendors.
He said most vendors failed to achieve growth due to lack of information on how to manage profit.
“We invited our partners to inform vendors of the services that are tailored for them,” Mr Monaheng said, adding vendors had to be equipped with skills to grow into businesses that operated from commercial buildings instead of the streets.
Mr Monaheng said vendors were very important to the country’s economy and without their efforts, the government would be burdened with the responsibility of providing jobs which were already scarce.
He advised the vendors to insure their businesses to avoid having to start all over in case of accidents.
He said they needed to start thinking beyond the present moment and start banking for the future.
“Different banks have complained that Basotho are not financially included because they do not bank.
“This is why most banks refuse to give them loans, which can help grow their business,” he said.
Tsolo Lebitsa, the Chairperson of Khathang-tema Baitšukuli thanked the ministry for realising their importance to the economy.
“Today we realise that our value is recognised; in the past we had been alone on this journey but today marks partnership between us and the ministry,” Mr Lebitsa said.
He urged vendors to unite and build their sector.
He said that their sheds needed to be upgraded to avoid disasters such as fire accidents.
“Our sheds are made of flammable materials such as plastics, boxes and wood, and if they catch fire it will not be easily extinguished,” Mr Lebitsa said.
For his part, Thabiso Sebakiso, a business consultant at BEDCO, said they had a business incubation platform where they provided professional assistance to small business owners for a year.
He said they were working on a programme to avail bank loans to small business owners who had business plans.
“We have held different workshops for vendors, especially Khathang-tema and we have learned of new associations that we will be working with soon,” Mr Sebakiso said.