Afrisam to launch Le­sotho’s first ce­ment fac­tory

Lesotho Times - - News - Bereng Mpaki

AFRISAM Le­sotho yes­ter­day an­nounced a land­mark part­ner­ship deal with a lo­cal com­pany, Ce­ment In­dus­tries Lim­ited, to­wards the con­struc­tion of Le­sotho’s first ce­ment fac­tory.

The plant, which would be si­t­u­ated on Afrisam’s Le­sotho dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre in Maseru, is meant to pro­vide all the coun­try’s ce­ment needs, with a ca­pac­ity to blend and pack 200 000 tonnes of the build­ing ma­te­rial per an­num. The fa­cil­ity is sched­uled to start op­er­a­tions by the third quar­ter of 2016.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing, who was the spe­cial guest dur­ing the fac­tory’s sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony, said it would pos­i­tively af­fect many sec­tors of the econ­omy through em­ploy­ment and busi­ness cre­ation.

“The man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor cur­rently con­trib­utes 12 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct. There­fore, this new fac­tory will make an im­mense con­tri­bu­tion to­wards the eradication of poverty through job cre­ation,” he said.

“To our val­ued in­vestors Afrisam, I would like to as­sure you that we ap­pre­ci­ate and em­brace your con­tri­bu­tion to­wards our in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion drive.”

The deputy premier said the rights of in­vestors were re­spected and pro­tected by laws in le­sotho

“May I also take this op­por­tu­nity to re­as­sure all for­eign in­vestors al­ready op­er­at­ing in Le­sotho and prospec­tive ones for that mat­ter, that this govern­ment is not about to ex­pro­pri­ate their in­vest­ments in the name of lo­cal­i­sa­tion,” he said.

“I also wish to ap­peal to our in­dus­tri­al­ists to work with us in en­sur­ing that lo­cal en­trepreneurs have a mean­ing­ful role to play. Among the ways in which this can be­come a re­al­ity is to en­sure that all sup­port ser­vices, wher­ever pos­si­ble, are pro­duced lo­cally.

“This will help de­liver mean­ing­ful and sus­tain­able ben­e­fits to our lo­cal pri­vate sec­tor and also cre­ate sus­tain­able busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.”

Mr Mets­ing said the govern­ment placed a high pri­or­ity on main­tain­ing sta­ble in­dus­trial har­mony.

“The smart part­ner­ship be­tween the govern­ment, em­ploy­ers and em­ployer as­so­ci­a­tions of or­gan­ised labour has in­stalled mech­a­nisms which will hope­fully elim­i­nate dishar­mony in the work­place sub­ject to the co­op­er­a­tion of all stake­hold­ers,” he said.

“I there­fore im­plore the in­vestor com­mu­nity, both for­eign and lo­cal, to ob­serve the in­ter­na­tional oc­cu­pa­tional health safety laws, whose vi­o­la­tion of­ten con­sti­tutes cause for in­dus­trial dishar­mony.

“Let us avoid, at all costs, the is­sue of in­dus­trial in­sta­bil­ity as it can lead to dis­con­tent, mis­trust and in­dis­ci­pline which even­tu­ally will re­sult in painful losses for all of us.

“We would not want to see com­pa­nies los­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity and prof­its, or em­ploy­ees los­ing their jobs.”

Afrisam Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Stephan Oliver said the fac­tory’s pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity could be in­creased if the de­mand for ce­ment in­creased in Le­sotho.

He said Afrisam prod­ucts had been at the cen­tre of many large-scale con­struc­tion projects in Le­sotho.

“Over the years, Afrisam’s prod­ucts have been used in a num­ber of iconic build­ings and in­fra­struc­ture projects in Le­sotho such as Katse Dam, var­i­ous roads, bridges, com­mer­cial build­ings, hospi­tals, and schools,” said Mr Oliver.

Afrisam Coun­try Man­ager Thato Tšuene said the process of get­ting the per­mis­sion for the con­struc­tion of the fac­tory from the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties took a long time which had re­sul­tantly de­layed their plans.

“We had plans to es­tab­lish this fac­tory for a while. But we were de­layed due to the long process of ob­tain­ing a lease for the site,” Mr Tšuene told the Le­sotho Times on the side-lines of the cer­e­mony.

He added that the fac­tory would im­port semi-pro­cessed raw ma­te­ri­als and fully process and pack them for the Le­sotho mar­ket.

On his part, Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Joshua Setipa said in­vest­ment of the likes of the Afrisam deal would spur eco­nomic growth.

“Our role is to at­tract in­vest­ment into the coun­try to en­sure eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. We are happy to wel­come yet more in­vest­ment into the coun­try with this plant,” Mr Setipa said.

Afrisam CEO Stephen Oliver and DPM moth­e­joa mets­ing sod-turn the site where the fac­tory will be con­structed yes­ter­day.

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