Tikoe extension to begin in April
CONSTRUCTION of phase III of the Tikoe industrial estate is set begin in April this year, Trade and Industry Minister Joshua Setipa has said.
Mr Setipa made the remarks following Finance Minister Dr ‘Mamphono Khaketla’s presentation of the national budget for the 2016/2017 fiscal year in the National Assembly last Friday.
Dr Khaketla allocated M40 million towards the construction of phase III of Tikoe industrial estate saying: “There will be provision of appropriate infrastructure development that will promote both local and foreign investment, and this budget proposes an allocation of M40 million for Tikoe Phase III and Belo industrial infrastructure under the Ministry of Trade and Industry.”
The minister also allocated M5 million towards the rolling out the One-stop Business Facilitation Centres (OBFC) to major industrial centres such as Maputsoe and Mafeteng. The OBFC is mandated with promoting investment through efficient and effective trade facilitation. It provides services relating to the issuance of import permits, export visas, trading licences as well as work and residence permits among others.
Mr Setipa said phase III of Tikoe industrial estate was meant to accommodate many businesses.
“The 11 factory shells at Tikoe industrial estate were initially intended for large firms which had the capacity to occupy the whole area,” he said.
“But we later discovered that two local firms had obtained leases on the property but did not need such a huge space.
“So we did decided to build six more shells of about 500 square meters to accommodate local firms which needed limited working space.”
The minister said they were ready to construct the facility and only waiting for the release of the funds.
“Plans for executing the construction process have long been completed, and we are now awaiting the budget allocation in April,” said Mr Setipa.
Mr Setipa said the roll out of OBFC offices in Maputsoe and Mafeteng would also enable people in remote areas to access the agency’s services.
“Since the OBFC offices were only in Maseru, we learnt that some people were coming from as far afield as Qacha’s Nek and Mokhotlong to
access the facility in Maseru,” he said.
“The new OBFC offices will greatly reduce the costs businesspeople in other districts were incurring in having to come to Maseru.”
Mr Setipa added: “Together with the Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project, we are working towards upgrading the facility further by creating a completely automated system which requires minimal use of paper.
“Furthermore, we are also working on a project that is partly funded by the World Bank to create an institution that would provide startup businesses with funding. It is one of the initiatives in the pipeline this year.”