Factories back in business …amid total lockdown
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By Mamello Mosaefane
More textile and manufacturing factories have resumed operations following their plea to the government to resume work so as to meet urgent orders for African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
This happens in the midst of the national total lockdown which was imposed by the government of Lesotho on January 15th 2021, and a recent extension on January 27th, and many businesses still remaining closed.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Maile Masoebe, said ministers all had consultations with different businesses concerned with their ministry and that it is through these that textile factories were allowed to resume operations.
He told KDnews that the factories pleaded with the ministry of trade and reached a consensus on their reopening despite the country being in total lockdown.
“The reopening of these firms was a matter of compromising. They have a lot of employees and the government’s shaky economy can not afford to provide them relief should they lose their jobs. ” Masoebe said.
The gazette was therefore amended three days after the lockdown was introduced, to accommodate the operations of the factories.
He also said that these factories have urgent orders that they cannot afford not to deliver on.
“If they missed these orders, that meant losing clients, resulting in Basotho losing their jobs.” Masoebe added.
All the textile factories are expected to be back to work by now, along with the manufacturing firms that presented proof that they manufacture masks.
“The manufacturing firms should be producing only masks, as they have become an essential” Masoebe emphasised.
According to him, textile factories have never really closed, the ones that recently opened last week were delayed by providing proof of orders and making permits for employees.
These factories are however allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity of employees in order to keep social distancing until lockdown comes to an end.
The government reached an agreement with factories management that employees should work in rotation to avoid any of them losing their jobs.