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Government plans to set up waste management plant

Caswell Tlali MASERU — Government is planning to establish an integrated waste treatment and incineration plant this year to dispose of solid waste and textile dye sludge in Maseru.

Finance Minister Timothy Thahane told the parliament during the 2012/2013 budget speech on Wednesday that the projects will be undertaken by the ministries of local government and finance.

Thahane noted that the city is plagued with toxic materials caused by excessive littering hence the need to set up the plant.

“Maseru is facing a serious environmental challenge caused by individuals and businesses who throw their beer cans, liquor and wine bottles as well as plastics along the roads and rivers,” he said.

“These pollute the underground water that we drink.”

The increasing number of imported scrap cars without spare parts also polluted underground water through rust that seeps into the ground.

“This is a complex industrial project that requires complex, specialised technical skills and technology to build, install, operate and maintain,” Thahane said.

He also noted that the government had provided M50 million for the development of a village and rural water supply programme.

The programme was also supported from Irish Aid, European Development Fund, World Bank and the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

“Other important projects under the Ministry of Natural Resources include the Maseru Peri-Urban Water Supply Phase 1, Five Towns Water and Sanitation, Wetlands Restoration and Rehabilitation and Rural Electrification Programme,” Thahane said.

He added that the government was working with private operators to develop efficient transport systems by building, upgrading and maintaining national road networks.

The parties were also promoting proper use and safety on these networks.

With roads in good shape, the government would intensify efforts to deal with drunkenness on public roads.

“Instead of cherishing their passengers, many public transport drivers abuse and endanger their lives,” Thahane said.

He said as a result of bad conduct by drivers the government plans to review the Motor Vehicle Insurance Act and related provisions.

Under the Motor Vehicle Insurance Act a road accident victim can claim compensation from an insurance company selected by the government to pay his medical bills.

Turning to the manufacturing sector, Thahane said government has allocated M104 million for the construction of factory shells for local entrepreneurs.

The funds would also be used to establish a skills training centre, improve business climate and promote a fabric mill to anchor the textile sector as well as value chain in agro-industries.

Thahane noted that the global economic meltdown had severely affected Lesotho’s textile industry that is already suffering from inadequate industrial infrastructure, long lead times required for exporting, and erosion of preferences overtime.

“The medium-term objectives in the sector will be to rebuild Lesotho as a textile hub and to increase textile and clothing exports, while diversifying the manufacturing industry by developing industrial clusters in areas such as wool and mohair, leather, food and jewellery,” he said.

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