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SLB increases local procurement 

Tokelo Rasephei

THE Standard Lesotho Bank Chief Executive, Mpho Vumbukani, says the bank has launched a programme to promote the growth of the country’s economy by procuring their supplies from local companies and individuals.

Mr Vumbukani said the bank aimed to increase its spending on local procurement to 70 percent from last year’s 55 percent in line with the government’s call to support local suppliers.

He said this at the recent official launch of the Entrepreneurship Development Programme at the Standard Lesotho Bank Enterprise Hub at Maseru Mall.

The enterprise hub provides entrepreneurs with free access to office space, internet and marketing information. Beginning next month, the hub will provide tutorials in business management skills for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Mr Vumbukani invited companies that are wholly owned by Basotho which are interested in participating in the programme to express their interest.

He said they were targeting furniture manufacturers and shop fitters, suppliers of information technology equipment, textiles and traditional wear, water processing and corporate wear producers.

“We have noted that we have about 300 vendors on our data base and currently our local procurement is 55 percent,” Mr Vumbukani said.

“Therefore, we would like to increase this spending to 70 percent in line with the government’s call to support local suppliers so that money circulates within our economy.

“The programme is aimed at assisting entrepreneurs to meet local and international standards to ensure market confidence in their products.”

He said they would also support street vendors by providing branded umbrellas to shelter them so that they conduct their business in an improved environment.

“We encourage street vendors to join the bandwagon of financial inclusion by opening accounts which have been tailored to suit their demands with minimal fees,” Mr Vumbukani said.

He further said that for the past three years, they have been in a partnership with Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation and the Lesotho Revenue Authority in the Bacha Entrepreneurship Project Phase 1 where they injected over M1.5 Million to help youths to start their own businesses.

“To date, a total of 23 youths have been employed in different businesses and 75 had been capacitated with entrepreneurial skills,” Mr Vumbukani said.

He added that they were currently in negotiations with their partners to finalise phase 2 of the project.

For her part, Standard Bank Lesotho’s Head of Personal and Business Banking, Selloane Tsike, said they would soon launch two more products, the Molleloa account and the society scheme “which will speak directly to the entrepreneurship development programme”.

“Our main objective is to come up with products to include that part of society in the lower end of society,” she said.

Ms Tsike explained that Molleloa account is a bank account that is tailored for lower end businesses and SMEs with turnovers of up to M240 000.

She said the new account came with a low opening balance and an affordable monthly management fee with options to choose from bundled pricing and pay-as-you transact fees.

She added that the society scheme would cater for money saving societies and associations within communities.

She said the Society Scheme also comes with a low opening balance and does not have a monthly management fee.

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