LCCI speaks on depressed business climate



MASERU – Lesotho’s business climate is mired in a myriad of challenges that make life extremely hard for the general population.

The Secretary General of the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Fako Hakane, blames the threat of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic for the uncertain business climate.

He said the third wave of the pandemic, now in South Africa, makes business difficult because when South Africa sneezes, Lesotho catches the flu.

So, since the third wave of the pandemic has already been recorded in South Africa, which is Lesotho’s major trading partner and only neighbour, that means Lesotho’s problems are right on Lesotho’s door-step.

“Now we have recorded new Covid-19 cases in Leribe,” Hakane said. The National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) has announced that Khethisa High School, in Leribe, has registered cases of some learners who have contracted the disease.

Hakane said this means the country is facing serious problems that put lives at risk, adding health experts have already warned that the third wave is coming with symptoms that are different from the previous ones.

He said the factory workers’ strike also had a negative impact on the economy, though the havoc wreaked by the pandemic is worse.

Public transport ferrying factory workers to and from work suffered a lot during the strike, he noted, further stating, however, that the strike did not have as much impact on the economy.

He said merely crossing the border to South Africa is costly for most people who want to visit that country for different reasons because they have to cough out money to make preparations such as acquiring Covid-19 certificates.

Hakane maintained that since Lesotho is ringed by South Africa, anything that affects that county automatically affects Lesotho. Faced with this situation, he said there is a dire need for the government to fast-track the vaccination process.

The government, he said, has to ensure that all the people are vaccinated against the pandemic in order to save their lives which are in serious danger.

He said the government has just received a second batch of Covid-19 vaccines for people who were vaccinated previously yet there are still others who have not been vaccinated at all.

For Hakane, the government has to do everything in its power to vaccinate all its people because if people are not vaccinated, they will not feel safe in their country.

He was quick to note that the numerous emerging political parties also have a direct bearing on the business climate in Lesotho.

“This is a sign of political instability in the country whose economy is already weak and fragile,” he said, adding that it is unhealthy for a country that has just two million people to have over 30 political parties.

Investors do not usually take their money where there is political unrest because chances are high that they could lose in business, he also said.

South Africa’s media reports show that the Gauteng government is ready to support the introduction of stronger lockdown restrictions this week as the province struggles with an influx of new Covid-19 cases. The reports further show that additional restrictions are necessary to help slow down the number of daily Covid-19 infections that are seen in the province.

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