Private sector gives thumbs up to new lockdown

Private sector gives thumbs up to new lockdown

MASERU-THE private sector has given a thumb’s up to Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s decision to impose a total lockdown to arrest the spread of Covid-19 but wants support for the vulnerable.
The lockdown went into force at midnight last night.

The CEO of Private Sector Foundation of Lesotho (PSFL), Thabo Qhesi, said they support the initiative by the government to minimise infections.
“What is lacking are the dynamics regarding relief for the vulnerable like street vendors who solely rely on selling before eating,” Qhesi said.
“Previously Good Samaritans like (Tšeliso) Nthane had to come to the rescue by providing food parcels.”

’Marethabile Sekhiba, the chairperson of the Lesotho Hotels and Hospitality Association (LHHA), said the rate at which people are losing lives due to the pandemic calls for stricter measures.
However, Sekhiba indicated that “these strict measures should come with solutions to the problem”.

“It is good that a lockdown has been called taking into consideration the crisis we are in. However, it does not help the situation much when relevant infrastructure is not in place,” Sekhiba said.
“We do not have isolation facilities, people who are positive still mix with their immediate family, people who stay alone are found dead after days as no one is checking up on them,” she said.

She said they thought they would also be forced to shut down but when they received the new regulations, they saw that they will still be open.
“We still have international tourists who could not leave due to border closures, we were worried we would have to put them out but we are glad that we will still be able to accommodate them,” Sekhiba said.
Sekhiba said they have also resorted to offering isolation facilities to individuals who can pay for themselves as their previous arrangement with the government did not work out well.

Meanwhile, Ntaote Seboka, the President of the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said business at large will suffer due to the lockdown.
“However, we can no longer doubt that we are in a crisis. Lives of those we know are being lost on a daily basis including business people,” Seboka said.

He added that consultations with different sectors or stakeholders are necessary when making such decisions.
Nkeane Motseki, the chairman of the Lesotho Liquor and Restaurant Owners Association (LLROA), said that they hope that the government will put measures in place to ensure that there is no negligence during the Easter holidays like what happened in December.

“We are already struggling, business is bad and now we have to beef up security for the stock that we have in our stores,” Motseki said.
“The holidays did not bring a significant change to business because people’s funds were already eroded by Covid-19,” he said.
“All we want now is clear direction to avoid another lockdown because it is costly. At the moment we are just overwhelmed.”

Lemohang Rakotsoane

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