The association blames the ministry for turning a blind eye to the unfair competition posed by Chinese entrepreneurs who fight for the same market as its members.
The Chairman of the association, Motlere Thobi has therefore taken a swipe at the ministry, describing it as both useless and not working for the benefit of Basotho business people.
“We lodged this complaint about the unfair competition from the local Chinese business community to the ministry as far back as 2015, but to date, there has been no positive feedback and instead the ministry refers us to the Ministry of Trade and Industry,” he said.
Mr Thobi added: “This is an old culture by foreign investors to come to Lesotho and sell small items that are only supposed to be sold by the indigenous traders.”
Asked to comment on the matter, the Minister of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing Keketso Sello watered down the allegations against the ministry.
He denied not interfering in the affairs of small traders, especially between Basotho and the Chinese.
“There is a policy that might be finalised by February next year that is going to state how the ministry has to work. It is true that when the ministry was founded, it was derived from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
“But it is incorrect when the association claims that we are not doing anything to assist its members,” Mr Sello said.
He said they have travelled across the country to tell small business people as to what the ministry does in order to be of assistance to them.
Mr Thobi charged that bigger and more successful supermarkets especially those owned by the Chinese sell small items such as sweets, one by one.
“They even cut a head of cabbage in half and sell rice in small packets which are supposed to be sold by small business people like our members,” he said.