By Kefiloe Kajane
A total number of 30 villages surrounding Ha Belo industrial will benefit from electricity connection during the implementation of Belo Industrial Area Electrification project launched last week.
The councilor of Ha Belo in Botha Bothe, Kopano Mohau, expressed his excitement for the villages and said the paying to charge their phones will finally be history.
As grateful as he was, he indicated that the villages have been identified and there is one called Likhutlong which is yet to be included in the project. It also lacks power.
“I appeal to the prime minister to please look at that village with mercy because it is amongst the most struggling villages in Butha- Buthe district. dwellers live in the mountains and have no fields but are lagging in service delivery. If they do not get the electricity, I am afraid they will move down there to the fields because there are electricity poles erected there,” he appealed,
One of the villagers that will be getting electricity ‘Malisebo Matjelo said she is happy that they will finally get energy supply and was looking forward to a soft life where she will easily charge her mobile phone. The electricity supply will enable her to also buy television and a refrigerator.
“Ha Belo industrials is not only going to change our lives in terms of giving our children job opportunities but we can now have a freedom of having electricity of our own. I am very happy,” she said.
The project coordinator ‘Mathapelo Silase said the project received a M900 million funding from World Bank. She said the project has three components which are first to connect electricity to the Ha Belo industrial, connect electricity to 30 villages while also serving the rural parts of the district.
The Lesotho National Development Corporation chief executive officer Molise Ramaili said the Industrial Electrification Project is pivotal to the successful completion of the Belo Industrial Estate Project, and marked a big win for the corporation.
He said the Belo Industrial Estate Project is one of LNDC’s ongoing infrastructure capital projects in support of National Strategic Development Plan two’s strategic initiatives implemented on behalf of the government.
He further said that the supply of electricity in this area “brings us one step closer to the development and completion of supporting service utilities for the project.”
He expressed that the project which is envisaged to be completed this year in December, encompasses in its first phase, the construction of 16 factory shells and supporting infrastructure for the entire masterplan that will see a total of 51 shells built.
“The commencement of this project could not come at a more critical time, as now more than ever, all efforts to create workspace for industrialists and other commercial entities are of the utmost urgency. We have sadly witnessed thousands of job losses due to the effects of Covid-19 on the global value chains. The corporation is dismayed at the downscaling of operations by key players which has resulted in these job losses.
“The full scope for this project is a total of 51 factories and LNDC seeks to explore implementation of expansion of existing investments by partnering with the private sector to construct more factory shells. It is projected that the initial 16 factory shells can create approximately 5000 jobs. Upon completion of the 51 factories, a total of 14 250 jobs can be created,” he said.
The managing director of the Lesotho Electricity Company Mohato Seleke said they would not only onnect Butha-Buthe with electricity but as LEC they were looking to open up Lesotho industrial market corridors.
“We want to connect from Maseru to Berea, Leribe and up to Butha-Buthe and make sure our connection is tight. We do not want it to affect businesses,” he said.
The contractor leading the project is Phaks JV, Electricity and Construction.