Prime Minister Mr. Sam Matekane took a tour of two factories, which had closed, leaving over 5000 Basotho jobless.

The factories Glory situated at Tikoe Industrial were closed in March 2020, while C&Y found at Thetsane closed shop in December 2021. Both factories retrenched 3,000 and 2,600 workers respectively. The factories closed due to a lack of orders from the United States, which is their only market after the COVID-19 pandemic.

His entourage included Minister of Trade, Industry, Business Development, and Tourism Mr. Mokhethi Shelile, Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Molise Ramaili, and Lesotho PostBank Managing Director Mr. Molefi Leqhaoe and Basotho entrepreneurs.

In his remarks, Mr. Matekane said that Basotho entrepreneurs should be united so that workers can return to work. He said that it is important that they work together for the development of the country as well as to address job scarcity.

On the other hand, Minister Shelile said that the tour is a direct follow-up to their visit to the United States (US) in December, where he said that they met with buyers who are willing and eager to get clothes from Lesotho’s factories.

He said that the intention is to open the two factories two months from now so that production can start. However, he said that only 1000 jobs will be resuscitated but promised there will be more jobs with time.

Moreover, LNDC CEO Mr. Ramaili said that for long-time factories have been owned by investors from outside the country, but stressed that now they want to engage Basotho entrepreneurs to run the factories.

Furthermore, Mr. Teboho Kobeli, owner of Afri Expo Textile commended the Prime Minister for touring the closed factories and highlighted that the manufacturing industry has been the major source of employment in the country for forty years emphasizing therefore that government should invest more in it.

He said that since the Prime Minister has called them to create jobs, they will work together with LNDC to fulfill that and develop Lesotho.

Over 15,000 factory workers have been jobless between 2020 and 2022 while massive job losses occurred between October 2021 and August 2022.

Meanwhile, with the Lesotho factories, the lowest worker is paid M2,307 while the highest goes home with M2,575.

Source: LENA 20/01/2023