Africa-Press – Lesotho. The Minister of Trade, Industry, Business Development and Tourism led the sod-turning of the construction of the Isuzu Motor Dealership which is expected to operate in Lesotho under the leadership of Zakhura Motor Group as a local partner.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Mokhethi Shelile said the government seeks to boost economic growth through a private sector-led economy and put wealth in the hands of Basotho hence this venture is a case study to demonstrate how this can be achieved.

Mr. Shelile said this venture is a sign that Lesotho is moving in the right direction in terms of economic diversification and the potential spillover effects this venture may produce for the automotive components manufacturing sector.

He said statistics have shown that at one point, the manufacturing sector contributed more than 20 percent to GDP and since then, a steady decline had been recorded and had remained stagnant from 2010 to 2011, saying Lesotho can no longer ease its efforts for being a leader in the textiles and manufacturing sector as it is now time to branch out into other industries such as the automotive industry.

He added that Lesotho will not stop here due to the potential that this industry has for the country, saying the industry as it comprises a wide range of entities involved in the design, development, manufacturing, marketing, selling, repairing, and modification of motor vehicles is one of the largest industries by revenue in some countries.

He said the Government of Lesotho through the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Business Development and Tourism will lead the processes to ensure that there are policies that enable such economic activity in the country.

He expressed hope that this will inspire other local investors to follow suit and assured Basotho and foreign investors that the Government of Lesotho through the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) has the capabilities to foster business negotiations to completion.

In his remarks, the interim Chief Executive Officer of LNDC, Mr. Molise Ramaili applauded Zakhura Motor Group for bidding on the project, saying it will be a build-up in the development of the automotive industry in Lesotho.

Mr. Ramaili added that this project comes in as part of the LNDC’s 5-year strategic plan which aims at levelling the playing fields for all local and international investors towards the development of the country’s economy.

He said he hopes this project will create employment opportunities for youth and contribute towards the development of the country as a whole. Conveying his remarks, Mr.

Crain Uren of Isuzu South Africa applauded Zakhura Motor Group for the step it has taken, saying international reports have revealed that trade between African countries stands at around 16 percent while European countries report at about 60 percent, therefore, this initiative is hoped to improve trade within African countries.

Mr. Uren said together with the local investor, they will work on building and ensuring the sustainable development and well-being of the Basotho nation through this project.

The Director of Sales, Zakhura Motor Group, Mr. Cassim Zakhura said the company started the transport industry for the longest time within the country. Mr.

Zakhura said it is encouraging to note a solid partnership of Lesotho with South African businesses as this only deepens the relations with the neighbouring country and fosters goodwill between the two nations.

The Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) is reported to have been the facilitator of this project while also fulfilling its mandate of levelling the playing field for calling in investments.

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