Trade portal down as Ministry drowns in debt

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By Liteboho Thebe

The online Companies registry has been down and out of service for a month due to an unpaid debt that is estimated at M1 million owed to a New Zealand company that runs the trade and industry ministry portal.

Thabo Qhesi, Chief Executive Officer of Private Sectors Foundation told KDNews Trade and Industry is indebted to the New Zealand company that renders software license of the ministry’s website.

Qhesi said the payment should have been made because the parliament has approved payment in the 2020/2021 financial year budget but it is shocking that the Ministry is still unable to settle the software company debt.

He further raised his concerns and laid out his frustrations that they are losing potential investors as the private sector.

He said potential investors that may have wanted to partner with Basotho lose interest because the gateway, which is the companies registry website is unavailable.

For his part, Makhetha Thaele, a businessman and political activist said the system being down has brought a lot of inconvenience to the country as it hinders the growth of many businesses as most companies have already suffered profit loss.

He said most Basotho have lost their jobs to say the least, as most individuals have suffered financially due to Covid-19.

He said companies under liquidation are on the verge of being closed down because they need to be bailed out so that the business creators can be paid in order to avoid company closure, so companies cannot be revived because they cannot get enough documents to keep their companies afloat due to the website being out of service.

“There is no foreign investor confidence in Lesotho because the interest rate has gone down drastically due to the registry being shut down,” said Thaele.

He explains that this has also resulted in people losing millions due to delayed operations such as investment returns failure and license delays.

Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Fako Hakane said in his conversation with Monaheng Khiba, from Trade and Industry, he learned the company’s registry will be up and running by Monday May 17.