MASERU – Trade and industry minister, Dr Thabiso Molapo, says Lesotho should diversify the textile industry since the Africa Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) is set to phase out in 2025.
The minister warned that if essential steps are not taken now, the country could soon find itself in a dilemma. The minister said this when presenting the ministry’s budget allocations for the new financial year in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Dr Molapo said it was high time that the country among others commercialised farming in order to create new job opportunities especially for the youth. He made an example of the fruit farms in Leribe, saying it through proper planning, a lot of jobs could be created in such establishments.
He said the country should take advantage of the abundant water it has and bottle it before exporting it to international markets. “The ministry’s main objective is to level the ground to make it conducive for business in the country,” he noted.
The ministry he further showed is aiming to ensure that Basotho are in the forefront of businesses as that will lead to money circulating in the country. “It is high-time Lesotho stopped relying on other countries for essential goods and commodities. The country should start producing its own goods which could also be exported to other countries.
We have the Lesotho Standard Institution whose role is to ensure that local goods are up to international standards,” he noted. Dr Molapo said he was about to complete 15 factory shells in Botha-Bothe while the Tikoe Phase 3 was still at an early stage of construction.
“Once these have been completed, they will create more job opportunities for Basotho,” he said. The Member of Parliament for the Mafeteng constituency, Temeki Tšolo, said the money requested for the ministry to carry out its projects for the new financial year is not enough.
He said businesses need a lot of money to be self-sustainable, pleading with funders to come to their assistance. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has requested a total budget of M34 043 571 for the new financial year.