I’m ready for the job: LNDC boss
…says ready to work hard and bring in much needed local and foreign investment
FORMER Lesotho PostBank chief compliance officer, Molise Ramaili, was recently thrust into the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) as its acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Advocate Ramaili will hold fort until the High Court rules on whether or not former LNDC CEO Mohato Seleke was legally relieved of the post. Trade and Industry Minister Thabiso Molapo refused to renew Mr Seleke’s contract after its expiration last September. He then took the minister to court alleging that his refusal to renew his contract was illegal. Although Mr Seleke has since been appointed to head the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC), his court case against the LNDC is yet to be adjudicated to finality.
In the meantime, Adv Ramaili will have to summon all his wealth of knowledge and corporate experience to steer the LNDC ship which is tasked with managing key national investments as well as attracting foreign direct investment in various sectors of the economy.
He is under no illusions as to the enormity of his responsibilities and he recently told the Sunday Express that he was ready to hit the ground running.
He said it would not a be a one man show as he would work closely with LNDC staffers on a turn-around strategy to attract foreign investors to invest in various sectors including information technology (IT) which he believes could contribute in a big way to job creation and economic growth.
“I already have some strategies regarding how I want to transform the LNDC,” Adv Ramaili says with that dreamy-eyed look of a man who can already visualise his destination and success long before it has even materialised in the physical realm.
While he has his own ideas, Adv Ramaili is not averse to consultation and team work. In fact, consultation is key to achieve buy-in and consensus because a single person, no matter how brilliant can do anything on his own, he says.
“I am looking at the processes, governance structures and I am studying the staff because I want to know the culture of the (LNDC) organisation and how it works. “I’m going to achieve my goals by consulting. Consulting will ensure a buy-in from everyone for what I want to achieve because I cannot do it on my own. I have already visited the staff in each LNDC department because I want people to know that they have an accommodating leader with an open-door policy. I believe everyone in this organisation has ideas and we need those ideas for a successful turn-around strategy.”
It is clear that Adv Ramaili has pondered long and hard on the issue and he is very clear as to what needs to be done to build up the LNDC to fulfil its mandate of ensuring investments and economic growth. He believes the answer lies in the LNDC diversifying its business portfolio.
“The first thing to consider is that we have big projects we are handling as the LNDC. As you already know we are building huge factories in the Tikoe and Belo areas. These projects will bring in textile investors and this is good as it will create lots of jobs for Basotho.
“But we can’t have all our eggs in one basket. I want to diversify LNDC’s portfolio, not to focus on one line of business in the textiles sector. I believe there’s so much that can be done. That is why I’m saying let me slow down to first understand what is already on the ground before I start running around and implementing some of the concepts that I have in mind which are different from what has been happening all this time,” Adv Ramaili said.
Despite being a youthful 35, Adv Ramaili is a veteran who has seen and done it all in the corporate sector- from being a lawyer at a law firm- to the high-flying corporate executive at the LNDC that he is today.
But this may not have happened had he fulfilled his other childhood dream of being a professional soccer player.
“Growing up, I had two dreams. I wanted to become a professional footballer and a lawyer. I was on course to becoming a footballer before I broke my leg in high school. It was a severe injury and this caused me to focus on my other dream of becoming a lawyer,” said Adv Ramaili.
Football’s loss has ultimately become the LNDC’s gain. Prior to his new appointment at the LNDC, Adv Ramaili worked at the Lesotho Post Bank as the chief compliance officer.
He believes his banking experience will come in handy in assisting young people to access the partial credit scheme administered by the commercial banks in partnership with the LNDC.
The father of three also had a stint at First National Bank (FNB) where he was the legal and compliance manager and later company secretary.
A youthful 35 years himself, no one understands the importance of using one’s position and influence to help young and upcoming people achieve their dreams than Adv Ramaili.
“There are so many young people I have assisted, so many people that I have empowered, who were inexperienced. And I think that is why the blessing (of the LNDC leadership) has been given to me. When I was at FNB, I advertised some positions, namely compliance manager, legal manager and compliance officer monitoring.
“These positions are very critical because they are managerial posts. The incumbents reported directly to me as the head of legal and compliance and company secretary. I took a leap of faith and gave these crucial positions to people straight from school without any experience. I had looked at their results, the way they conducted themselves, how hungry they worked to succeed and I decided to give them the opportunity.
“Believe me, they did exceptionally well. I’m proud to say one of them now is the legal manager at Letšeng Diamonds; another is the anti-money laundering manager at Nedbank Lesotho, the other is now head of legal and compliance at Stanlib and the other one is now CEO of the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA).
“It goes to show that I can work with anyone as long as they deliver. It doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, male or female, black or white, I work with people based on results,” Adv Ramaili said.
His passion for helping others has been shaped by his own experiences. He knows what it is like to be young and self-driven but needing a lift to get started.
He began his rise to the top at the BBM Kotelo & Co law firm shortly after graduating with a Bachelor of Laws Honours degree (LLB Hons) from the National University of Lesotho (NUL).
The law firm immediately thrust him into the deep end, asking him to take on important cases of clients. It is an experience he treasures as it has helped him confront challenges without any fear throughout his career, he says.
The former Machabeng College student has also worked at the Water and Sewage Company (WASCO) as a legal officer and later in a legal advisory position at mobile communications giant, Vodacom Lesotho.
Helping more young people achieve their dreams is what Adv Ramaili intends to assist during his time at the helm of the LNDC.
The young unemployed but ambitious graduate or the street vendor teeming with ideas of growing his business are some of the people Adv Ramaili is looking to help.
“I’m also thinking, what are we doing as the LNDC to promote small and medium enterprises for Basotho? If you think of it, although these factories are providing jobs for Basotho, they are still foreign-owned. We have to ask ourselves what are we doing to empower those Basotho who are keen on graduating from being street vendors to owning bigger enterprises?
“What are we doing to assist a student who has just graduated from the National University of Lesotho? As you well know, there are high unemployment rates and it is not easy to get a job. What then, are we doing to assist young people to implement their ideas and create jobs?”
“I’m a young person and very passionate about helping young people to grow. People are frustrated with the high unemployment and big corporations like the LDNC have to give them hope,” Adv Ramaili said.
“This is our time to shine as young people and the world is watching to see what we are capable of,” he says by way of encouragement to all young people.
“On my part, I have to do well because what I will do today will not only impact my own life but everyone, young and old, as well as the national economy. We need to give the nation hope. We need to give everyone hope. To all the young people, work hard. You should always remember that your reputation is built on whatever you do, so do it well and work hard always.”