LNDC lob­bies for tex­tile cer­ti­fi­ca­tion

Lesotho Times - - Business - Retha­bile Pitso

LE­SOTHO Na­tional Devel­op­ment Author­ity (LNDC) Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Kele­bone Leisanyane has urged tex­tile and gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies to be cer­ti­fied un­der the World­wide Re­spon­si­ble Ac­cred­ited Pro­duc­tion (WRAP) to en­sure they re­main com­pet­i­tive and are able to con­trib­ute to the growth of the econ­omy.

Mr Leisanyane made the re­marks dur­ing a two-day work­shop which started on Mon­day in Maseru and held in con­junc­tion with the South­ern African Trade Hub to con­sci­etise tex­tile and gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies on the benefits of WRAP cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Head­quar­tered in Ar­ling­ton, Vir­ginia in the United States WRAP is a non-profit team of global so­cial com­pli­ance ex­perts who work to pro­mote safe, law­ful, hu­mane and eth­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing around the world through cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and ed­u­ca­tion.

To date, WRAP has worked in over 40 coun­tries and reg­is­tered 1 900 fac­to­ries.

Mr Leisanyane said many benefits awaited a Wrap-cer­ti­fied com­pany which in­cluded ease of trade in in­ter­na­tional mar­kets and en­hanced com­pet­i­tive­ness.

“The sub­ject of so­cial com­pli­ance is of ex­treme sig­nif­i­cance to in­ter­na­tional buy­ers who are cau­tious that all fac­to­ries be com­pli­ant with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards in terms of child labour and forced labour, health and safety, ha­rass­ment and abuse, dis­crim­i­na­tion, hours of work, com­pen­sa­tion and benefits and free­dom of as­so­ci­a­tion.

“Hence we have joined forces with the Usaid-south­ern African Trade Hub to in­crease in­ter­na­tional com­pet­i­tive­ness of the re­gional tex­tile and gar­ment in­dus­try by fa­cil­i­tat­ing this aware­ness sem­i­nar in or­der to en­cour­age all our man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies to be WRAP cer­ti­fied,” Mr Leisanyane said.

He added that the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process would also en­sure lo­cal com­pa­nies meet the re­quired in­ter­na­tional stan­dards for trade in the long-term and even af­ter the ter­mi­na­tion of the African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act (AGOA).

AGOA is a United States trade pref­er­ence pro­gramme that pro­vides duty-free treat­ment to im­ports of cer­tain prod­ucts from el­i­gi­ble sub-sa­ha­ran African coun­tries which in­clude Le­sotho.

“The LNDC con­tin­ues to em­ploy nu­mer­ous ef­forts to en­sure that the tex­tile and gar­ment in­dus­try in Le­sotho con­tin­u­ously de­vel­ops its com­pet­i­tive­ness and be­comes a sus­tain­able driver of the econ­omy,” said Mr Leisanyane.

“This cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process is not only to pre­pare com­pa­nies for the fu­ture but be­yond the 10 years in which we are grat­i­fied to share with you that progress in the re­newal of AGOA has been made.”

The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process is also meant to pre­pare com­pa­nies that will par­tic­i­pate at the Source Africa 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa in June; a cloth­ing and footwear trade event that fos­ters link­ages be­tween buy­ers, man­u­fac­tur­ers, and sup­pli­ers.

LNDC Public Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer Nt­si­uoa Sekete also stated that the cor­po­ra­tion was prep­ping lo­cal busi­nesses to be com­pet­i­tive be­yond AGOA.

“We are de­vel­op­ing strate­gies to di­ver­sify busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties that would sus­tain Ba­sotho be­yond the an­tic­i­pated re­newal of AGOA which is ex­pected to be for the last time,” said Ms Sekete.

On his part, WRAP Pres­i­dent and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Avedis Se­fe­rian said cer­ti­fi­ca­tion guar­an­teed industrial prod­ucts’ com­pli­ance with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards world­wide and an as­sur­ance of safety to po­ten­tial buy­ers.

“Many con­sumers to­day are con­cerned about the con­di­tions in which industrial prod­ucts are pro­duced such as non-tol­er­ance of child labour or forced labour laws,” Mr Se­fe­rian said.

“Our or­gan­i­sa­tion also trains fac­to­ries to safe­guard against work- ing in dis­as­trous con­di­tions and to main­tain the well-be­ing of staff.

In Le­sotho, we have so far suc­ceeded in reg­is­ter­ing three fac­to­ries.”

Kopano Tex­tiles Hu­man Re­source Manager Ariel Mokuoane said while the fac­tory had en­joyed the benefits of reg­is­ter­ing with WRAP in 2010, the un­cer­tainty on the re­newal of AGOA had wreaked havoc on the op­er­a­tions of the com­pany.

“Be­cause of WRAP cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, the com­pany man­aged to se­cure a buyer called Eclat with which we en­joyed a five-year trade re­la­tion­ship,” Mr Mokuoane said.

“Our mis­take, how­ever, was part­ner­ing with only one com­pany be­cause when AGOA could not be re­newed on time, the com­pany left to trade else­where in Cam­bo­dia.

“We are cur­rently back to out­sourc­ing other buy­ers and this time we will open more doors to trade with more buy­ers in­stead of only one.”

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