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LNDC sets up new projects in Mafeteng



MAFETENG-The Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) this week introduced three projects in Mafeteng that will likely spur development in the district. Those projects were property development and management, a development finance unit and investment and trade promotions. The LNDC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mohato Seleke, said the aim was to promote the LNDC development finance instruments within the private sector and participating commercial banks. Seleke also said the promotion of investment opportunities will create a platform for LNDC stakeholders to engage the sector. He said the expected results “were the increased knowledge and appreciation of the policy instruments and their process flows by the local private sector and participating commercial banks.” “The increased awareness of existing investment opportunities, (creates) broader participation in contributing to the economic growth and increased awareness of LNDC stakeholders’ programmes that support the local private sector,” Seleke said. Seleke said following their mandate of looking for investors both local and international and to create jobs “we had to come up with a new organisational structure as a response to that realignment.” The Minister of Trade, Dr Thabiso Molapo, said Basotho import more commodities than they export and this does not reflect their ‘independence’. “We should take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic and grow more so we will end up supplying other countries,” Dr Molapo said. He said the government set aside M410 million for Basotho’s businesses so that Basotho can become self-reliant. He urged the private sector to approach the LNDC so they will have access to the money as per the government objective. He said there were several agreements made such as the US-enacted Africa’s Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) but “Basotho don’t benefit from them and we should take advantage so we benefit”. “We have to change how we usually do things and ensure that money is generated within the country and an additional with more exporting,” he said. “It has been 54 years since our independent but we are still begging, for how long will we be beggars?” He called on Basotho to forget ‘hatred politics’ and do things for the benefit of Basotho. “This should be done regardless of what a politician says,” Molapo said. He said the newly built LNDC Market Centre in Ha-Tikoe will need locally produced supplies. “If the private sector doesn’t produce enough where will we get those from?” Molapo said opening the market for Basotho should not leave a gap. “Prepare now so that we will be able to even stop importing bottled water and we can’t just stop it without guarantee of your readiness,” he said. Molapo recommended them to invest more in agriculture. Principal Chief of Likhoele, Lerotholi Seeiso, commended the minister for involving the public in the projects. “We will continue supporting if only he will keep on involving the public,” he said. Trade Ministry Principal Secretary Maile Masoebe requested commercial bank employees to assist business men and women “without throwing the papers in their faces.” “Assist them so all will benefit because the success of their business means the banks’ success,” he said. Meanwhile, Molahlehi Lempe of Seabokaneloa Sebata said he has been growing grains (maize, beans, sorghum etc) since 2018. He said the gathering was very helpful and he will reconsider visiting the other two commercial banks which he hasn’t approached for assistance. “I need financial help so as to grow more,” he said. He said he has been requesting help from Lesotho Post Bank and Standard Lesotho Bank and both of them turned him down. Lempe said the explanation from Post Bank was they no longer give loans to small businesses as those assisted were no longer paying back. He said Standard Lesotho Bank said his business was still new. “If I don’t get assisted, I am afraid I will not be able to plant more as I had hoped,” he said. ’Mapule Motsopa

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