‘LNDC has laid the foun­da­tion for growth’

Lesotho Times - - Business -

LE­SOTHO Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion ( LNDC) Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Kele­bone Leisanyane re­cently com­pleted his first year at the helm of the govern­ment-owned in­vest­ment and trade pro­mo­tion show­case.

Mr Leisanyane took over the reins at the LNDC in De­cem­ber 2014 with a man­date to help di­ver­sify the econ­omy. In this widerang­ing in­ter­view, Mr Leisanyane speaks to Le­sotho Times ( LT) reporter, Bereng Mpaki, about the ac­com­plish­ments and chal­lenges of his first year.

LT: Were you given a spe­cific man­date when you joined the LNDC? KL: The man­date of the LNDC is stip­u­lated in sec­tion 4, sub­sec­tion 1 of the LNDC Act No. 20 of 1967 as amended by Or­der no 13 of 1990 and amend­ment Act no. 7 of 2000 and it reads as fol­lows: “To ini­ti­ate, pro­mote and fa­cil­i­tate the de­vel­op­ment of man­u­fac­tur­ing and pro­cess­ing in­dus­tries, min­ing and com­merce in a man­ner cal­cu­lated to raise the level of in­come and em­ploy­ment in Le­sotho.” This was the man­date that I was given when I joined the cor­po­ra­tion in De­cem­ber 2014 and it hasn’t

changed up to to­day.

LT: In what state did you find the LNDC in when you joined?

KL: A state of ap­pre­hen­sion is prob­a­bly a harsh word to use. A bet­ter de­scrip­tion would be op­ti­mistic an­tic­i­pa­tion by all that my lead­er­ship and ste­ward­ship of the cor­po­ra­tion would bring cer­tainty, sta­bil­ity and strate­gic di­rec­tion. Th­ese at­tributes were, un­for­tu­nately, not ev­i­dent in the re­cent past yet es­sen­tial if the LNDC is to de­liver on its man­date.

LT: Which ar­eas needed im­me­di­ate in­ter­ven­tion upon your ar­rival?

KL: The LNDC’S Strate­gic Plan was com­ing to an end in March 2015, and there was an ur­gent need to de­velop a new one which was to take ef­fect from 1 April 2015.

There was also an im­me­di­ate need for the cor­po­ra­tion to de­velop and im­ple­ment the Per­for­mance Man­age­ment Sys­tem which would as­sist in in­still­ing a cul­ture of ur­gency, ac­count­abil­ity and high per­for­mance by all em­ploy­ees tto en­sure that goals are at­tained.

There waswa an ur­gent need to fast-track and com­plete ththe con­struc­tion of 11 fac­tory shells at Tikoe Inin­dus­trial Es­tate which had ex­pe­ri­ence­denced pro­tr­pro­tracted de­lays for dif­fer­ent rea­sons since June 2012. The de­lays were hin­der­ing the roll-out of the cor­po­ra­tion’s pipe­line pro­ject­sjects and hencehe job cre­ation.

The oth­eother ur­gent task was for the cor­po­ra­tiontion to as­sis­tassi the par­ent min­istry, which was then the Mmin­istry of Trade and In­dus­try, Mar­ket­ing and Co­op­er­a­tives in its lob­by­ing ef­forts for the timely and seam­less re­newal of AGOA (Africana Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act), which was to ex­pire in Septem­ber 2015.

LT: Whawhat progress has been made un­der­der youy­our ste­ward­ship to date?

KL: T This ques­tion would prob­a­bly be best an­sweredan by our stake­hold­ers. How­ever, as the CEO and leader of the cor­po­ra­tion,po­rat I be­lieve that we have made sig­nif­i­cantsign progress over the past 12 monthsmon and have laid the foun­da­tion for growth in both the scope of our op­er­a­tionsope and in the abil­ity for us to de­liverdel on our man­date.

Not­no­table achieve­ments in­clude:

Dede­vel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ccor­po­ra­tion’s Strate­gic Plan

De­vel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of the cor­po­ra­tion’s Per­for­mance Man­age­ment Sys­tem Com­ple­tion of 11 fac­tory shells in Ha Tikoe which un­locked over 5 000 jobs De­vel­op­ment of the Fair­ways Plaza Timely and seam­less re­newal of AGOA.

LT: Lndc-aided in­vest­ment in the coun­try is con­cen­trated in the tex­tiles and gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors. Does the LNDC have any plans to di­ver­sify on th­ese prod­ucts and their mar­kets?

KL: It is true that out of a to­tal of 74 LNDCas­sisted com­pa­nies, em­ploy­ing a to­tal of 48 111 em­ploy­ees, 41 of them are in the tex­tile and gar­ment in­dus­try. How­ever, the cur­rent sta­tus of our pro­ject pile in­di­cates a sig­nif­i­cant shift from tex­tile and gar­ments to­ward more di­ver­si­fied prod­ucts rang­ing from au­to­mo­tive ac­ces­sories, aqua­cul­ture, cos­met­ics and agro-prod­ucts. This is a clear in­di­ca­tion that our di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion strat­egy is bear­ing fruit.

LT: The LNDC has been en­coun­ter­ing a lot of chal­lenges in col­lect­ing rent from ten­ants us­ing the cor­po­ra­tion’s proper-

ties? What is the state of affairs now?

KL: The LNDC had ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tions with the ma­jor­ity of its com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial ten­ants to re­mind them of their obli­ga­tion to pay for the ser­vices that are be­ing ren­dered to them. The in­dus­trial ten­ants in par­tic­u­lar have been in­formed that the cor­po­ra­tion has a back­log of in­vestors who can­not be ac­com­mo­dated be­cause of the short­age of fac­tory space.

As a re­sult, the ma­jor­ity of the ten­ants are now meet­ing their rental obli­ga­tions, and some have agreed pay­ments terms with the cor­po­ra­tion in or­der to set­tle their rental ar­rears. Those ten­ants who are not re­spon­sive to our per­sua­sion are be­ing pur­sued in the courts of law and also de­nied any kind of as­sis­tance by the cor­po­ra­tion.

LT: What do you re­gard as the ma­jor chal­lenges hold­ing back the cor­po­ra­tion from fully re­al­is­ing its man­date?

KL: Lack of in­fra­struc­ture; short­age of fac­tory space, in­ad­e­quate waste treat­ment fa­cil­i­ties and short­age of wa­ter for the north­ern in­dus­trial es­tates of Ma­put­soe and Nyenye.

The slow pace of in­vest­ment cli­mate re­forms is an­other area, since Le­sotho is ranked num­ber 114 out of 189 economies on the World Bank Do­ing Busi­ness In­di­ca­tors re­port, while Botswana and South Africa are ranked 72 and 73 re­spec­tively. Ar­eas need­ing im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion in­clude, is­su­ing con­struc­tion per­mits, get­ting credit from the banks, get­ting elec­tric­ity, reg­is­ter­ing prop­erty and re­solv­ing in­sol­ven­cies.

The per­cep­tion of political in­sta­bil­ity is also a ma­jor chal­lenge as well as an in­suf­fi­cient num­ber of di­ver­si­fied rev­enue streams for the cor­po­ra­tion.

LT: What projects can be ex­pected from the LNDC in 2016 and be­yond?

KL: In­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment for the Ha Belo Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone in Butha–buthe In­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment for phase III of Tikoe in­dus­trial es­tate Con­struc­tion of five fac­tory shells for lo­cal in­vestors at Tikoe in­dus­trial es­tate. Re­fur­bish­ment of the Ma­put­soe road net­work Re­fur­bish­ment of LNDC Cen­tre and Kingsway Mall Re­fur­bish­ment of Dev­court res­i­dences Mixed de­vel­op­ment of the Race Course Roll­out of ad­di­tional sup­ply chain fi­nanc­ing prod­ucts for our lo­cal pri­vate sec­tor to sup­ple­ment the cur­rent Par­tial Credit Guar­an­tee Scheme.

LNDC CEO Kele­bone Leisanyane

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