THE Minister of Trade and Industry, Tefo Mapesela, has expressed concern at the failure of local businesses to exploit the several bilateral and multilateral trade agreements to compete favourably on the world market and grow their businesses.
Mr Mapesela said it was equally worrying that while there were so many business opportunities that local entrepreneurs could tap into, the local industry was largely dependent on the clothing and textiles sector.
He said this while officiating at the recent 2018 Lesotho Quality Awards ceremony that was held in Maseru to honour individuals and organisations that had contributed to the improvement of and production of quality products in all sectors of the economy.
“It is worrying that Basotho are reluctant to take full advantage of the several market opportunities that are created and negotiated through the leadership of the Ministry of Trade and Industry,” Mr Mapesela said, adding, “there are several bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that need to be exploited by our business community”.
He said while there were at least 6000 product lines that Basotho could tap into apart from the textile and clothing sector, “It was even more worrying to see that our formal market is predominantly dominated by imported products”.
He said while growth was important, local businesses should however, strive to attain the highest standards of quality to achieve consumer satisfaction and confidently compete on the local and international markets which had become highly globalised.
“The government through various projects is assisting and enticing Basotho to produce more tradable products with levels of quality that would out-compete their rivals in the local markets.
“Lesotho Quality Award primarily invokes and generates awareness of the importance of quality and standards.
The award is also given to recognise the achievements of those organisations that have improved the quality of their products and services thereby setting examples for others to emulate,” Mr Mapesela said.
He said that in many countries, the awards were given by the highest offices and they would ask the Prime Minister to be the patron of the awards.
He further urged other government ministries to work with his ministry to assist business to meet the minimum standards of quality and market requirements.
For his part the Director of Standards, Molebatsi Rabolinyane, said that six companies contested and only Botho University won in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) quality contest.
The university scooped the Service of the Year award in the Small and Medium businesses category.
Other organisations that participated in the 2018 Lesotho Quality Awards are LSP Construction, Civil Engineering Laboratory, Remmoho Compliance Solutions, TJ Mokaloba and Alosang Enterprise.