M25m blown on faulty toothpick machines

M25m blown on faulty toothpick machines

MASERU – THE Ministry of Small Businesses blew a staggering M25 million on toothpick making machines that do not work.
Development Planning Minister Selibe Mochoboroane discovered this when he inspected the machines during a tour at the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (Bedco).

Mochoboroane found that one machine was turning clockwise instead of anti-clockwise while others were already faulty when they arrived from China in 2019.
To make matters worse, Mochoboroane also found that the machines were second-hand when the then Small Businesses Minister Chalane Phori bought them.

Mochoboroane said the ministry’s Department of Procurement “has a lot to explain why they bought the second-hand machines which have already depreciated”.
“The government, through the Minister of Small Businesses, invested M25 million to buy three manufacturing machines which have become a white elephant now,” Mochoboroane said.

Mochoboroane said delays on projects are costing the government millions.
“What shocked us the most is that the toothpick machine which was bought with such a huge amount (of money) is failing to operate,” he said.
“The machine has already depreciated and it is already failing to function.”
Technicians who wanted to show the minister how the machines operate were embarrassed when the machines stuttered.
These are the same machines Phori was gloating about when they arrived.

He said the machines for making toothpicks, duvets and egg trays would boost productivity and create jobs.
But instead, they have created a pounding headache for the ministry and Bedco.
Pesha Shale, the Executive Head of Enterprise Development at Bedco, said the machines were bought in the 2019/2020 financial year.

Refiloe Mpobole

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