Small business policy on the cards

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Minister of small business Machesetsa Mofomobe

By Seleoe Nonyane

A barrage of stinging complaints came to the fore as small business traders this week deliberated on the policy meant to develop small enterprises.

The complaints emerged at a validation workshop hosted in Maseru that attracted about 40 representatives from the 10 districts.

Top of the dissatisfaction list was the registration of their businesses which they said was expensive. They suggested that there should be an online officer for registration of their businesses.

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They cried out that the license fees were high and called on that they should differ from those paid for registration of larger enterprises.

While urging for promotion of small manufacturing enterprises, they wished the policy to include the number of employees to be engaged in the trade.

They observed that some large trading companies employed a small fraction of the workforce triggering a work overload upon the workers.

The policy relates to issues of tax, work environment and access to finance with its main objective being to assist in enhancing the growth of small businesses.

Their suggestions were to be incorporated in the policy which was facilitated by a consultant engaged by the small business development, cooperatives and marketing ministry.

The senior small enterprise development officer, Masupha Kemong, said: “Business owners should be educated on using the automation system at customs when paying tax at the borders in order to make paying tax easier for them.”

Masupha told traders the process of accessing utility services should be improved by ensuring that services such as electricity and water are made available to the owners of the business in due time.

Other issues in the policy are technology and innovation. The intention is to promote innovation, acquisition and adoption of technology by micro, small and medium enterprises growth. 

Small business development held a validation workshop yesterday, this after small business owners had been advised to go gather information from the ten districts as a way of getting them involved in building the small business policy.

This comes after the small business development had hired a consultant or an expert to construct a policy for the small business and they were compelled to get the small business owners involved as they would know better on what is needed.

The minister of small businesses Machesetsa Mofomobe said after the consultant brought the policy they brought in the small business owners so that they can add on the new developed policy or subtract from it as it is theirs.

“After we had received the new policy from the consultant, we were impelled to include the small business owners. That is, we advised them to add on to the policy or remove whatever that would not work for them is this policy was extracted especially for them.

“So we invited them today on this validation workshop so that they could come give out all their concerns that they had gathered from the ten districts.” Mofomobe said.

He further added that the purpose of including them is so that the policy should be theirs and not of the government in order to avoid them complaining about the policy after being implemented and saying that the government made decisions for them without them being consulted first.