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Law firm drags ministry to court over absurd price hikes

Business

Nthatuoa Koeshe

Advocate Letuka Molati of Molati Chambers says they are ready to institute a court case against government for what they label illegal and unfair costs imposed to the business community for motor vehicle traders’ license application.

Molati told Newday this week that they will be approaching the courts of law this coming week regarding the 12 500% increase which the Ministry of Trade and Industry has imposed for the motor vehicle traders’ license application in the business licensing and regulations No.71 of 2020.

This after the law firm had written to the ministry asking that the motor vehicle traders license price hike of 12 500% from M600 to M150 000 as provided for in the business licensing and regulations No.71 of 2020 together with its amendment should be suspended, adding that failure to do so by February 9, 2022 would leave them with no choice but to approach the courts of law.

However, the Ministry responded that the increase in the motor vehicle traders’ licenses is valid and reasonable.

“The fee structure was tabled and endorsed by the parliament of Lesotho and therefore the fees are valid and reasonable,” read the letter from the ministry.

In an interview with this paper, Molati said now that the Ministry of Trade has stated that the fees which they (Molati Chambers) said were highly unreasonable and unlawful are in fact valid and reasonable and will not be changed, they will be headed to the courts in the coming week to pursue the case as promised.

“We will be approaching the courts since the ministry has failed to suspend the regulation and amendment by 9 February 2022 as stated in our letter,” said Molati.

Weighing-in on the matter, Economist and former Principal Secretary Majakathata MokoenaThakhisi, said there could be a reason for the hike such as reducing the number of taxis in the country.

“This could be an administrative move which has nothing to do with the economy. I do not think the ministry needs more money because there is budgeting done for them but I also do not think the hike is high given the economy has revolved since back in the 1970s when licensing costs way less,” he said.

Mokoena-Thakhisi however, stated that the move will result into different price hikes hence taxi drivers are also feeling the need to increase taxi fares to about M20 for local travel within a 10 km radius.

“This could bring about a negative impact on the economy as hikes in transport fares could also mean that there will be price hikes in many other different commodities,” he said.

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