Mmegi Online :: Indian firm to set up leather park in Lobatse
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Last Updated
Thursday 20 September 2018, 12:14 pm.
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Indian firm to set up leather park in Lobatse

The Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) has engaged experts from an Indian research firm to help set up a P225 million leather park in Lobatse.
By Isaac Pinielo Wed 12 Nov 2014, 12:59 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Indian firm to set up leather park in Lobatse








According to LEA, the plan to establish the park, which will be a fully-fledged industrial complex, is well on course with construction expected to start in the 2015/16 financial year and create over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.

LEA acting director of corporate and stakeholder communications, Boikhutso Kgomanyane said they have decided to bring in technical partners, who have experience in the leather processing industry and a footprint in international markets, to operate the tanneries at the leather park.

Scientists from Chennai-based Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) in India, who have already been offering expertise to the governments of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, will now help establish the leather park in Lobatse.

In the past there were tanneries at Lobatse, Pilane and Francistown all of which have since collapsed.

Kgomanyane indicated that the development models that were used then excluded the most important component of the industry, thus, the Effluent Treatment Plant, which resulted in closure of those tanneries due to environmental requirements.

“This component is very expensive and does not have any return on investment hence investors were reluctant to invest in such,” she said.

Kgomanyane explained that construction of the leather park, which is expected to be in the financial year 2015/16, requires between 10 hectares to 20 hectares of land.

Initially the government will start the project together with a technical partner and at a later stage the government will divest and hand over to the private sector after an agreed period.

“During that time, any private sector player would be allowed to set up in the park,” she stated.  Kgomanyane explained that this is the core of the project, adding that other private sector tanneries and leather product manufacturers will be allowed to join.

“The latest studies has shown that by exporting raw hides in its current form, the country is exporting jobs, hence the need to protect jobs is of paramount importance in the wake of citizen economic empowerment and the Economic Diversification drive,” she said. According to Kgomanyane, through these studies, the

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government has seen the need to develop the leather industry by providing the basic infrastructure and a Common Effluent Treatment Plant as a public good.

She said part of the model is to ensure that even hides and skins from all over the country will be used in the park, in addition to the ones from the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC).

“That will ensure that there is a market for the country hides and skins and the price for such will be improved from how they are currently,” said Kgomanyane.

The project is also good for development of Lobatse Township as a centre of beef production in Botswana, and the by-products from BMC will be used to create jobs for the town.  Kgomanyane indicated that residents of Lobatse who used to work at the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Wet blue Tannery before it was closed will have an opportunity to seek employment because they have relevant skills.

She said the residents would also have an opportunity to open small and medium leather enterprises because finished leather will be readily available.

There will be 657 jobs created, comprising of 300 hide collectors, 47 jobs from the Common Effluent Treatment Plant, 180 from the Wetblue tannery and 130 jobs from the retanning and finishing plant.

In addition to the 657 jobs, it is believed that the manufacturing of footwear and leather goods will create an additional 4,750 made up of 2,000 from footwear, 2,000 leather goods and 750 from upholstery, making a total number of jobs for the leather park to go to as far as 5,407 jobs.

“Batswana who are currently producing leather goods and crafts have a challenge of availability of finished leather, and with this project, such will be available in the country at reasonable prices,” Kgomanyane said.

Leather enterprises in Botswana have been sourcing finished leather from outside the country.

The leather park is also expected to stimulate secondary industries for accessories, chemicals, services providers, component manufacturers, transport and logistics, and so on.

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