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LOIC workers starve



MASERU-STAFF at the Lesotho Opportunities Industrialisation Centre (LOIC) have not received their salaries since the start of the year, as financial difficulties take a toll on the organisation. Workers said the situation has made their lives miserable as they are battling to meet family obligations. “We have to pay rent and take our children to school. We have insurance policies which are likely to lapse because they are now unable to pay them. We also have to report to work even though we are not getting our salaries,” said a worker who refused to be named. “We have not been addressed officially about the financial problem the institute is facing. We have simply heard from the corners that the institution is mired in financial hardships,” she added. The Executive Director of the LOIC Kokolia Ramabele confirmed that the institution is facing financial problems that have resulted in it failing to pay salaries. He said the problems started in November last year when the then Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Small Business Tankiso Phapano withheld financial support. Ramabele said the financial support from the government covered 80- 90% of the school’s operational expenses. Salaries take the bulk of expenses, said Ramabele. However, the institution’s authorities are hoping for a change of fortunes following the appointment of a new Minister and Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Small Businesses. He said officials have informed the new minister, Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane, of the crisis at the school. The minister has promised to resolve the problems, he said. The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Small Business Makotoko Bereng said he was aware of the issues bedevilling the LOIC. “We hope finally everything will be in order. We are still making follow ups,” he said. Majara Molupe

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