Nhlangano: In line with His Majesty the King Mswati III’s vision of the 2004 Job Creation Summit and governments National Strategic Roadmap 2019/2023, logging company, Montigny Investments remains loyal to contributing to the country’s economic growth in the areas of Agriculture and Agro-Processing. The company also remains committed to the successful implementation of the Strategic Roadmap as drawn by government early this year.
Addressing the King, Emakhosikati and businessmen at the Shiselweni Business Dinner in September 2019, whose theme was, ‘Shiselweni: A Private Sector-led Economic Turnaround’, in honor of the King at the Sobhuza II Memorial Stadium in Nhlangano, Montigny Investments Chief Executive Officer Andrew Le Roux told the King that among other moves to be undertaken by the company is the employment of 12 500 people by 2022, in addition to the 11 600 currently under the employ of the company. “We have added value by continuing to create employment opportunities, from 6 700 in 2016 to 11 600 in 2019, and 12 500 by 2022, in rural areas with few employment opportunities,” said the CEO, much to applause on the part of those who attended the event.
Montigny has also added value by increasing the tons of wood fiber, processed annually, from 600 000 tons in 2016 to 800 000 tons in 2019, and ultimately 1 100 000 tons in 2022, which has taken place across numerous processing facilities in Nhlangano and Bhunya.
Le Roux told the king that everybody knew that the only truly sustainable economic turnaround is one driven by the private sector, with government providing the enabling and supporting environment for investment and economic growth. “At a time of almost unparalleled global uncertainty, increasing protectionism and increasing trade tensions, you, Your Majesty, have been the unwavering champion of our Business Community and Private Sector,” said Le Roux.
Le Roux appreciated the King for pioneering the Strategic Roadmap, saying government has done well to align the initiative, to achieve this objective, as they work towards Vision 2022. He acknowledged that the government has already achieved Milestones in 2019, which includes a fully-funded budget, sending out a strong message of fiscal certainty and confidence. Other moves achieved by government are the outlining of commitment to improving the economy, Ease of Doing Business and the lives and future of the nation. Le Roux also esteemed the King for the ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, giving the nation an unprecedented access to one of the largest, and fastest-growing, economic blocks in the world, and, the championing of the Regional E-Commerce Platform, preparing Eswatini for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and positioning Eswatini to take the lead in Regional digital platforms and trading.
Present at the dinner were Emakhosikati, the Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini and Deputy Prime Minister Themba Nhlanganiso Masuku. Cabinet ministers, the Shiselweni Regional Administrator, parliamentarians, government officials, members of the Diplomatic Corps, government officials and business people from Shiselweni formed part of those who were at the dinner.
Le Roux honored the King for accepting the invitation to come to the dinner despite having had a busy schedule this year. He acknowledged that His Majesty had covered the successful International Labour Organization Trip in Geneva, the Eswatini International Trade Fair, the African Union, and the successful launch of the End Malaria Fund and National Ceremonies.
Le Roux said the business community also wished to thank the King for His leadership in promoting harmony and cohesion in Labour Relations and Social Dialogue in the Kingdom, and in setting the example and tone, with his recent State Visit to the centenary celebrations of the International Labour Organization in Geneva. “Your Majesty, your address to the General Assembly was pitch- perfect, and your bilateral discussions with the ILO Directorate, International Employers Organization leadership and our Organized Labour Stakeholders were very well received and have set the tone for a renewed focus and energy to work together to take Eswatini forward,” said Le Roux. He said by hosting the Director General of the World Trade Organization, the King sent a message to the world that they are serious about trade and open for business.
“Your Majesty, Montigny is testament to this fact and, by God’s Grace, the Montigny Group of Companies has continued to prosper as we remain committed to your vision of growing the Eswatini economy,” said Le Roux, adding that the company has lived true to the dictates of their slogan, “WE ADD VALUE”, and are very proud to report that they have continued to make significant progress over the last 3 years, as they continue to add value, working towards the growth of the business and an Economic Turnaround in Eswatini.
“We have added value by growing our Regional and International Markets, culminating in long- term contracts with Global Multi-National Companies, such as the recent signing of a 15 year export contract with Sumitomo Corporation in Japan,” said Le Roux. Montigny now has a National Footprint with Regional and International Reach, but with their hearts and roots still firmly planted in Shiselweni.
The company has added value to its institutional shareholders, the Public Service Pensions Fund and the Eswatini National Provident Fund, as the custodians of National Pensions, by representing some of their best investment returns, creating broad-based benefits for tens of thousands of Emaswati.
On a parting note, Le Roux acknowledged that Eswatini is in good standing with the EU, USA and ILO, saying the country’s relationship with the Republic of China on Taiwan is stronger than ever. He expressed pleasure that the United Kingdom is re-establishing its High Commission in the country. “Let us now unite in supporting the Strategic Roadmap by announcing that we are a safe, secure and stable destination for investment,” said Le Roux, adding that they need to tell their development partners that, while there is much to be done, they continue to make progress.