The Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) has set its sights on creating over 1000 jobs for Basotho at the implementation of the professed Salmon fish business worth over M4billion.
This was revealed by the corporationâ€™s Manager of Domestic Investment Semethe Raleche, who indicated that plans are advanced for the execution of the Pure Salmon Company which will be done in partnership with 8F Asset Management Company from the United Arab Emirates.
The project which will see the production of 20 000 tons of salmon each year is estimated at $250 which translates into about M 4 047 500 000, $30 million of which will be injected by LNDC with the remaining $220million from the foreign investor.
In an interview with NewsDay, Raleche indicated that the land-based fish project is earmarked for implementation in the Botha-Bothe district.
â€œThis project is a land-based operation, which means the fishponds will be in-house. We will be rearing and producing fish in the country, it will then be processed and exported to markets such as Asia, and the rest of Africa, especially northern African countries.
â€œWe are now at the implementation stage because we are finalising the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), we are also finalising engineering feasibility studies and our expectation is that by March 2021 we should do sod-turning so that construction can start,â€ he said.
Salmon is a cold water fish which is similar to trout, it has a pinkish fillet and survives the cold weather, therefore Lesothoâ€™s cold weather and high altitude are ideal for the project.
â€œThe project will be implemented by a company called Pure Salmon Lesotho owned by LNDC and 8F Asset Management which is a fund company based in Abu Dhabi but are originally from Singapore,â€ he explained.
Meanwhile Raleche pointed out that they would be opening doors for Basotho to have a stake in the opportunity by purchasing shares.
â€œWe are still going to require participation of local investors. We will open doors for Basotho to invest in the company.
â€œLNDC is going to establish a private equity fund where local investors will invest with their money. A minimum of 250 direct jobs are guaranteed but there are also indirect jobs which are going to emerge, there will be other industries and companies in the supply chain which are going to be involved and benefit Basotho because after processing the fish we take it to the borders and about 800 to 1000 jobs will be available,â€ he said.
He said that they have not yet determined shareholding for the company despite the share capital between the partners.
â€œThe shareholding is not yet determined and it will be finalised towards the end of this financial year, we have already committed 30million USD and 8F have committed 50% of their share money. â€œDepending on how much Basotho and LNDC are able to raise shareholding will be determined. But interest of the LNDC is not to take the majority shareholding in this kind of project because our role is just to facilitate things so that investors, both local and otherwise, can bring their money into the economy,â€ he concluded.