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‘Economic crisis over for Lesotho’

Mpeshe Selebalo


MASERU — The worst of the global economic crisis is over for Lesotho, Standard Lesotho Bank managing director, Roger Snelgar, has said.

Snelgar told a business breakfast meeting at a local hotel on Thursday that Lesotho’s banking sector was safe and sound and will not suffer from any after-effects of the global economic crisis.

“These are very sensitive times in the global financial markets,” Snelgar said.

“Fortunately . . . it (banking sector crash) will not happen in Lesotho not only for Standard Bank but for the [entire] banking industry in Lesotho.”

The breakfast meeting, which was organised by Standard Lesotho Bank, was called to discuss investment opportunities for local businesses.

Businessmen were briefed on the investment opportunities offered by Standard Lesotho Bank as well as the new technologies that are at their disposal to ensure they run their businesses effectively.

Among these is the new ‘business online’ facility that the bank said is meant to save time and reduce the burden of having to make several payments to clients.

Keketso Makara, Standard Lesotho Bank head of transactional banking, said the new system, which was introduced in January, will allow operators to have more control of their finances.

He said 40 percent of their business clients were already using it.

“The system is targeted at corporations and business banking clients. It is more secure. Businesses can have access at all times and do their transactions all over the world,” Makara said.

He said the business online facility is meant to reduce long queues for business and corporate clients and also reduce significantly time clients spend in banking halls.

Makara said the new system has been a hit with small, micro and medium-businesses. He said 40 percent of their business clients had opted to use the new facility since its introduction in January.

Standard Lesotho Bank head of business banking, Molefi Leqhaoe, urged businesses to change the way they operate by increasing their investments to improve their cash flow systems.

He said it was important for businesses to have investments to guard against future cash flow problems thereby ensuring sustainability for their businesses.

“Most businesses in the country rely on loans for expansion and whenever there are cash flow problems.

“But it is always good to have investments to shield oneself in hard times,” Leqhaoe said.

Banks had since the global financial crisis in 2008 been very cautious to offer loans to businesses.

“Investments could be handy when there are cash flow problems in businesses as at times a business may not qualify for the full amount of cash they require at any given time depending on the risk,” he said.

Leqhaoe said businesses should strive to strike a healthy balance between loans and investments with the latter being used to revive the company’s cash flow in times of trouble or for expansion.

Mocheta Makara, who runs a renewable energy business in Maseru, said it was imperative for businesses to come up with new strategies to effectively run their businesses.

“Sometimes businesses fail to grow because of a shortage of funds. But if you have invested more prudently then, funds will always be at your disposal,” he said.

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