Financial cooperative looking for innovators

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By Neo Kolane

Since receiving its license in March, Phuthalichaba Savings has set itself a target of investing in one of the country’s leading companies by the end of this financial year.

Touted as the future bank of the people, Phuthalichaba is the fastest growing and registered financial cooperative incubated under the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Innovation Hub.

Its aim is to become Lesotho’s first and true development bank which will invest in NUL innovation Hub’s businesses and other business owned by Basotho

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It will be Lesotho’s only financial institution that will strengthen innovative local businesses and buying shares in them, growing them to become big regional and international players.

Immediate membership benefits include access to finance through borrowing. They also include a chance for a member to save their own money in an entity that is owned by them

Speaking to theReporter, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Phuthalicha Savings, Tebello Tjapela stated that the financial sector of Lesotho has three commercial banks which are foreign-owned and contribute 91 percent to the market share of the country.

“We cannot expect them to contribute to innovation and the development in Lesotho, hence the start-up of Phuthalichaba savings,” Tjapela stated.

“Phuthalichaba is different because firstly it is led by the most passionate professionals of Lesotho and secondly all financial transactions are handled by the bank, so Phuthalichaba is transparent in the way it handles people’s hard earned cash. That is because all its transactions are traceable and held by a third party which is the bank

Tjapela also mentioned that when one becomes a member, they indirectly become a shareholder in the companies in which Phuthalichaba will invest, with associated benefits.

Tjapela explained the name ‘Phuthalichaba’ saying that it means uniting different people of Basotho, from herd boys, lecturers or even ministers because there are Basotho from Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Mokhotlong, and Mafeteng.

“A person can join Phuthalichaba from anywhere in Lesotho or outside the country as long as one has a bank account in Lesotho,” he stated.

Tjapela added that by saving a minimum of M65.00 per month and a once off M150.00 membership fee, one can be a part of potentially the most important financial institution Lesotho will ever see.