MASERU Central legislator and Finance Minister, Moeketsi Majoro has encouraged factory owners to plough back into the community through corporate social responsibility programmes that can help identify new business opportunities and help to create new jobs for the local communities.
Speaking during a tour of the Thetsane industrial area in Maseru, Dr Majoro said while the government welcomes the factory owners’ investment in the country, there is potential for more growth in their businesses.
“We are here to identify opportunities and the needs for a discussion that will pave way for us to effectively work together to help reduce poverty and for the wellbeing of the local community of Thetsane,” Dr Majoro said.
He said the government is looking at ways to increase its partnership with the private sector to support initiatives that can accelerate employment creation.
Dr Majoro explained he has identified potential employment opportunities which the factories can tap into through the creation of training incubators targeting the local community, including the street vendors operating in the industrial area.
“The idea is for the factory owners to facilitate capacity development and also help the young entrepreneurs get contracts to sell their products. That way we can see meaningful growth that can support government’s efforts to create employment and reduce poverty,” Dr Majoro said.
Other areas of support required in the area, he said, was to ensure the safety of the workers who usually worked overtime before walking home in the dark.
“I have heard of cases where some workers have been mugged, especially women. We need to work together to improve lighting along the road up to the Masianokeng Junction to ensure their protection,” he said.
The tour also revealed the need for companies to prioritise waste water recycling infrastructure development to enhance management of industrial waste and prevent contamination of the river just below the industrial area.
Also speaking during the tour, the councillor for the area, Tlali Lebesa, echoed Dr Majoro’s sentiments, saying establishing projects and imparting skills to locals would be more beneficial than giving hand-outs which would soon run out.
Lesotho Textile Exporters Association (LTEA) representative, David Chen said they were aware of the challenges faced by the Thetsane community and promised to help them put up a training centre where they would be taught to make their own garments at no cost.
“We have noted the need for garment making skills and we will mobilise resources to provide training services,” Mr Cheng said.
He said the association was also looking to constructing a child cay care centre to help their female employees who could afford employing child care services.