March 3, 2021


3 min read

Street vendors yet to receive COVID relief packages

Street vendors yet to receive COVID relief packages

Street vendors trading along Kingway Road in Maseru

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THE government is yet to receive data from a total of five districts in order for them to receive their COVID-19 relief funds.

For the two districts of Leribe and Qacha’s Nek, data has been received and is already being processed for payment. The other remaining five districts including Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka, Quthing, Mohale’s Hoek and Mafeteng are yet to submit.

Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro made the revelation during his national address on Sunday.

Initially, a major setback has been on the flawed registration processes with regard to the accurate numbers of street vendors currently operating in the country.    

But on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Maseru Street Vendors Association, Molefi Paneng told Metro that at the moment, the only difference is that other districts have delayed to submit the required data in order to start receiving the much needed financial assistance.

 “Other districts could not submit the required data on time and that means payment will also be delayed. Those that have been already paid were able to submit all the required documentation on time,” Mr Paneng said.

The data should be submitted to the Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing that captures the data before sending it to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to begin the payment process. 

A total of M3 239 000 has been disbursed to 6 478 informal sector businesses in the three districts of Maseru, Berea and Butha-Buthe.

 “The data for Leribe and Qacha’s Nek is being processed while data for the remaining districts of Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka, Quthing, Mohale’s Hoek and Mafeteng has not been received from the Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing for processing,” Dr Majoro noted.

To date, a total of M7 565 000 has been disbursed to 772 formal sector businesses for all districts with additional 248 applications of the formal sector amounting to M1 240 000 in progress.

The funds are part of the Private Sector COVID-19 Relief Fund through the Lesotho Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP) within the Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project (PSCEDP) that was launched by the government to mitigate the impact of the national lockdown.

The fund has been allocated a total of M50 million with the initial M20 million already released to the Ministry of Trade.

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Around the world, street vendors are among the most vulnerable to the ongoing economic turmoil wrought by the coronavirus.

This is because most street vendors work to earn money for the next day and not for a long-term period. But since the coronavirus pandemic, they have been struggling to survive.

Recently, a group of hawkers in Maseru took to the streets, embarking on illegal protests, demanding the promised COVID-19 relief packages.  

They argued that government was failing to fulfill its promises.

During the protest, some shops were vandalized, but police were quick to intervene and dispersed the protesters.

The Street Vendors Association was, however quick to denounce any participation in the protests but raised concerns over the delays in processing of the relief packages.  

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