business

Aug. 31, 2021

NEO SENOKO

3 min read

Investment moves to Butha-Buthe

Investment moves to Butha-Buthe

Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro

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JOB creation and private sector growth have been at the heart of Lesotho’s development agenda for a long time and recently, Butha-Buthe has been earmarked as the next investment hub, particularly for the textile and apparel industry.

Situated in the northern part of Lesotho, about 160 km from Maseru, the district has allocated for that business endeavor due to its proximity to the Durban depot in South Africa and more compatible nature than the capital city, among other things.

Due to poor planning, Both Thetsane and Tikoe industrial areas in Maseru do not allow for more development to take place, making life difficult for both residents and factory businesses in the area.

Among other things, the two industrial sites are highly congested, leaving little space for road construction, water installation and extension of factory shells for more production.

Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro pledged during the official launch of the electrification project at Belo Industrial Area on Friday last week that investment in the textile sector is headed to Butha-Buthe.

“Investors are interested in this area because they say it is more compatible to the type of business they do and also very close to Durban and therefore allows for easier movement of goods,” he said. The $55.5 million (M800 million) Ha Belo industrial estate project is set to create more jobs for Basotho, with the first phase of the project scheduled to deliver 16 factory shells which are expected to employ over 14 500 people upon completion of the construction.

Subsequent phases of the project will create an additional 41 000 jobs from 51 shells.

The government-owned project is being developed by the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC), with Unik Construction Engineering as the main contractor.

The project was supposed to have been delivered in January 2021, but it is only 81 percent complete at the moment. Among others, the delays were caused by resurveys and digital terrain modeling of the project site.

“Before end of this year, in October, the building construction will be completed in this area. This project is tied to the other two components of electrical installation and access to water,” Dr Majoro noted.  

He said the area will need more electrical power that firms will be able to use properly.

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A total of 1 200 families, 11 schools as well as other 21 businesses, the premier said, will also benefit from the electrification project.

He therefore appealed to community leaders in the area to ensure proper land planning, particularly with places surrounding the industrial area to avoid any unnecessary inconveniences in the future.

He said enough land should remain available for the construction of more factories as government plans to build more firms in the area.

Land should also be made available for the construction of other developmental projects such as health care centres, road construction, schools and taxi ranks among other things, he said. 

The apparel industry accounts for most of the jobs and exports in manufacturing, however, further development in the industry is currently under pressure.

Exports to the United States (U.S) market for instance, have been falling as the country struggles to compete with other low cost producers.

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