MASERU — The Private Sector Foundation of Lesotho (PSFL) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mangaung Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) which seeks to improve the sharing of business information.
The PSFL spokesperson, ’Mamakamane Makamane, told the Lesotho Times that the foundation felt the need to forge relationships with their counterparts considering that Free State is the main supplier of goods entering the Kingdom.
Makamane also said the PSFL, aware that many tourists who travel around South Africa seldom come to Lesotho, has proposed to the MCCI that there should be a joint coordination of tourist attraction between Free State and Lesotho.
“We already have informal working relationships with the Free State business community but we felt that we should engage the associations as coordinators to formally cement these relationships,” Makamane said.
“There are many issues that should be discussed between Lesotho and Free State and we can jointly create a platform to talk about them,” she said.
“For example, there are many services and goods that we can supply to Free State but we have not marketed them enough for people in the Free State to see them.”
Makamane said platforms that will be created after the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the two chambers will also include relevant government ministries.
“It is an established fact that we buy almost all food from Free State but the qualities of soil we have are not different. This means that the more we engage each other the more we will exchange agricultural skills with Free State farmers and perhaps end the problems we have in agricultural inputs.”
She said the food market is open in South Africa as its most productive provinces, Free State and Limpopo, do not meet the market demand.
“So, with Lesotho having soil of the same quality as that of Free State we can produce enough food and sell locally and in South Africa with the help of the very South Africans who are skilled in agriculture,” she said.
One of the burning issues that both chambers will discuss in their future meetings include how to overcome problems at the borders where trucks delivering goods have to wait for days to be cleared by customs.
“Both Lesotho and Free State traders are suffering because of long queues at the borders. We need to urgently discuss this issue, together with the relevant government ministries, until we find a lasting solution.”
Makamane said their first meeting to unpack the memorandum of understanding will be in Maseru within two weeks, on a day yet to be specified.
Government ministries will be invited.