Small businesses in trouble over red meat import ban

Small businesses in trouble over red meat import ban

MASERU – THE chairperson of the Economic Cluster, Tsoinyane Rapapa, on Friday said small-scale businesses are among those who have been hit hard by the government’s ban on the importation of red meat.
He said some of the businesses have already shut down as a result.
Rapapa said his committee has been engaging businesses that have been affected by the move.
The business owners, said Rapapa, are not against the regulations, but are concerned about the implementation which leaves a lot to be desired.

Further, business owners told members of Rapapa’s committee that they were not consulted before the regulations were adopted.
Parliament, said Rapapa, should reconsider the regulations.
He said one of the major concerns was that slaughtering of animals is only done at Meraka. Some alleged that the slaughter house had been retaining some portions of their meat, alleged Rapapa.
Trade in red meat had drastically gone down as a result of the import ban, severely affecting the economy, said Rapapa.

MEC Proportional Representation MP, Ts’epang Mosena, said banning the importation of red meat initially seemed a good move but should now be revisited as it had emerged that small businesses were suffering.
“We want the Ministry of Small Businesses to help small businesses to grow bigger and not to shut down,” Mosena said.
She said within just a short period, the regulations had impacted negatively on small businesses in the meat business.
“We plead with this House to review the regulations so that it could benefit Basotho,” she said.

Berea MP Motlatsi Maqelepo argued that the Small Business Ministry is working hard to ensure the growth of small businesses and called for patience.
He accused the government of favoring Chinese nationals with licences at the expense of locals. The Chinese, he said, were repatriating profits to China instead of investing in Lesotho.
The Chinese should be persuaded to reinvest their profits locally, he said.
Butha-Buthe MP Motlohi Maliehe described the ban on the importation of red meat as “a serious problem”.
“We are in big trouble because of the monopoly at Meraka,” he said.

The Director at the Ministry of Trade, Monaheng Monaheng, rejected allegations that the ministry was giving away licences to the Chinese.
He said they request for documents and once they are proper, they issue a licence to the applicant.
Monaheng said the problem is that there are some businesses that are run by the Chinese yet they were registered by a Mosotho.
The Basotho businessmen would not have notified the ministry that they had sold the licence to a Chinese.
“Sometimes, a Mosotho may seek a licence yet behind the scenes such business is run by a Chinese. We are therefore planning to have a law which will guide us on this,” he said.
Monaheng said if the MP has tangible evidence, he should approach his ministry.
He even some of the foreigners have been granted citizenship and are now able to get licences just like any Mosotho.

Thooe Ramolibeli

 

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