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LNDC confirms M15 million Enrich bailout

Business

Ntsoaki Motaung

The Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) is poised to play a vital role in salvaging the collapsed Enrich supermarket, attributing its downfall to a shortage of skilled personnel in management.

Molise Ramaili, Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for LNDC, yesterday outlined the terms of the corporation’s M15 million loan to Enrich, emphasising LNDC’s intent to be represented on the company’s Board of Directors.

“We aim to ensure that our loan investment is managed effectively, benefiting not just Enrich but other businesses as well,” Ramaeli affirmed during a press conference in Maseru.

“Our participation on the Board will enable us to monitor the funds allocated, scrutinise operational costs, and ensure regular operational reports to facilitate business growth,” he added

Highlighting LNDC’s active role in the supermarket’s resurgence, Ramaeli stressed their interest in influencing the appointment of Enrich’s CEO or Managing Director.

“We prioritise individuals with substantial retail experience, both local and international. LNDC’s involvement will extend to managing these skilled individuals to ensure timely reporting and effective decision-making,” Ramaeli stressed.

Part of the loan, he stated, will be allocated to pay Enrich’s creditors, with LNDC intervening to prevent the imminent auctioning of gym equipment by the courts.

This move aims to enable Enrich to manage the sale independently.

Envisioning a strategic exit plan, Ramaeli projected Enrich to regain stability within seven years, aiming to settle the loan to LNDC within that period.

“Our goal is to stabilise Enrich, and eventually withdraw from direct involvement, fostering its self-sufficiency and growth,” he outlined.

Mokhethi Shelile, Minister of Trade, Industry, Business Development, and Tourism, underscored the significance of LNDC’s intervention, citing Enrich’s substantial Basotho ownership with over 6,000 shareholders.

“Apart from that, the state sells locally produced products and that means a lot of people are affected by this issue. If we are serious about creating jobs, we have to save the business,” he said emphasising the need to support homegrown enterprises.

Shelile reiterated LNDC’s commitment to preserving Basotho-owned businesses and encouraged large-scale Basotho entrepreneurs to seek assistance, subject to a rigorous assessment to ensure their capacity to repay loans.

The minister further vowed that efforts were underway to expedite Enrich’s financial infusion, with LNDC taking proactive steps to ensure a swift revival of the supermarket’s operations.

He said LNDC’s strategic involvement signaled a concerted effort to safeguard local enterprises and foster a conducive environment for Basotho entrepreneurs to thrive, echoing the corporation’s commitment to bolster the country’s economic landscape.

Meanwhile, a notice of sale in execution of movable property has been issued against Enrich by the High Court this week.

“The following property shall be sold by Public Auction at Enrich Fitness, Ha Tsolo, Usave Building in the district of Maseru on the 15th of December 2023 (today) at 09:00 am by the Sheriff of the High Court to the highest bidder,” reads the notice.

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