The joy of saving

The joy of saving

MASERU – IT is year end and for some this signifies harvest time.
Small savings throughout the year are turning into significant returns for members of several small saving clubs dotted around the country as they meet to share dividends.
Ha-re-Jang Kaofela Savings, Investing and Lending Community (SILC) group in Ha-Thetsane is one such group.
The group initially had 25 members but three opted out along the way. The remaining 22 shared M179 072 amongst themselves last Saturday.
Unlike before when dividends were splashed on Christmas goodies, people are increasingly using their returns to start small businesses.
Mahlomola, 25, is a member of the SILC.

He is a 2016 graduate of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) with an Honours degree in Tourism Management.
But like many graduates from tertiary institutions, he has been struggling to secure employment since leaving college.
It was only last year when Mahlomola joined SILC group with the sole purpose of raising capital to start a poultry project.
“I had since realised that it was a struggle for me to get funds to start my business when I did not have any collateral unless I could approach a loan shark,” Mahlomola said.
He said he chose to join the group because it was a platform to get capital at low costs.

Mahlomola said he borrowed M400 from the group to buy 100 chickens that he kept for meat.
“I was able to pay back that money with an interest because it was only 10 percent of the money that I borrowed. I was able to keep my business running with the remainder of the money,” he said.
Mahlomola said the money was readily available for him to borrow from the group without filling any paperwork.
Like other new businesses, Mahlomola’s enterprise has a few challenges including lack of access to markets and late payments by clients.
He is planning to use his share for this year to expand his business.

“I have already managed to buy cages with the funds I raised during the year. And with my share I am going to buy egg layers and start selling eggs too,” Mahlomola said.
Thabang Makhetha, 21, who is a second-year architecture student at LUCT, is also a member of the SILC group.
He joined the group last year with the intention of saving money to start a business after graduating.
“I started last year by investing M5 000 and when we shared in December I had accumulated over M7 000. I joined the group because I have realised that chances of being employed are very slim,” Makhetha said.

He said Lesotho’s high levels of unemployment forced him to think about starting his own business.
“I was able to invest part of the money,” said Makhetha.

Another member of the group, ’Mannini Khorola, 22, opened a tuck-shop with the money she got from the group.
“This year I want to use the funds I have raised to venture into poultry and piggery,” Khorola said.
She said she borrowed M2 000 from the group to boost her stock in the tuck shop, which is already doing so well that Khorola was able to pay back the money the following month.
There are currently 72 SILC groups in Maseru from Ha-Thetsane, Tsoapo-le-Bolila, Qoaling and Khubetsoana being supervised by Caritas.
Through these groups, 58 poultry, 47 piggery, 25 tailoring and 28 catering projects and shops have been established.
The platform was able to raise over M2.5 million this year.

Mahasela Nkoko, a field supervisor at Caritas in Thetsane Area, said the project has been a tremendous success since it was launched in 2016.
“We had a target of 52 groups for that year but we managed to have 57 even though at the end of the year three collapsed due to lack of vision, untrustworthiness and poor participation from members,” Nkoko said.

He said so far the project has recorded some “measurable impact” as evidenced by the reduction of people going to the loan sharks.
“They no longer have to deal with furniture repossession or having to leave their identity documents (with shylocks pending payment of their loans) or deal with the fear of their loved ones for failing to pay,” he said.

He said the majority of participants in small savings groups are factory workers and the unemployed who are keen to create their own jobs.
“They produce chickens, pork, clothes and many other things and they are no longer unemployed,” Nkoko said, adding that a sizeable number of participants use the money to pay for education.
“They no longer borrow money to buy food only but they are investing it,” Nkoko said.

The Minister of Finance Dr Moeketsi Majoro commended Ha-re-Jing-Kaela SILC group for their efforts.
He said he would like to see the groups extending a helping hand to other SMMEs with great potential but in need of financial boost.
The minister said it is his dream to see these groups transforming into big investors, highlighting that “you can choose to either finance projects with potential by lending them money and have it paid back with interest or own a stake in the project.

Lemohang Rakotsoane

Previous ‘We’ve no plans to privatise bus company’
Next Thakaso attacks Phafane

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/thepostc/public_html/wp-content/themes/trendyblog-theme/includes/single/post-tags-categories.php on line 7

About author

You might also like

News

MPs reject pay hike

MASERU – MPs on Monday rejected a proposal by a parliamentary portfolio committee to increase their salaries. The decision was unprecedented as Lesotho’s MPs have a history of pushing an agenda

News

Top envoy cleared

MASERU – LESOTHO’s High Commissioner to London, Rethabile Mokaeane, has been cleared of all nine charges of misconduct brought against her by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The charges were instigated

News

AD backs striking health workers

MASERU-THE Alliance of Democrats (AD) has thrown its weight behind striking health workers.Speaking at a press conference in Maseru yesterday, the AD Secretary General Dr Mahali Phamotse said the government