MASERU — A pilot project for the implementation of the District Economic Strategy (DES), a plan aimed at stimulating economic performance in the districts, has been launched in Berea.
Nthoateng Lebona, the director of the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), said the main objective of the DES was to help achieve the overall goals of the NSDP which was aimed at creating economic growth and employment in Lesotho.
She spoke at a gathering organised by the Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (LCN) at the Lehakoe Recreational Centre in Maseru. Lebona said the DES was set to help achieve NSDP objectives at district level.
Additional supporting documents to the NSDP were also unveiled.
The NSDP provides the overall national strategic thrust for economic development for the next five years.
It is aimed at guiding the nation in achieving the goals enunciated under its vision 2020 programme.
Explaining the additional documents to the NSDP, including the DES document, Lebona said the NSDP recognised, as a point of departure, the need and urgency for Lesotho to radically transform its economy.
“We need to define a future that is characterised by the capacity to produce goods and services for regional, African and global markets,” said Lebona.
The other documents, which are all aimed at helping in attaining the objectives of the NSDP, are the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) document, the NSDP Implementation Plan and, the NSDP Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (MEF).
The documents are all aimed at enabling achievement of the NSDP objectives which include pursuing high economic performance ventures to generate at least 10 000 jobs per year.
On the implementation of the DES, Lebona said, “We have to think differently about how local economies grow and develop and about the roles and responsibilities partners have in delivering economic prosperity.”
“The provision of quality long-term jobs for local residents is an important factor in enabling communities to benefit from economic growth, ensuring that local employment is derived from local growth,” she said.
She added that “raising the economic wellbeing of the citizens of the district is key to the future prosperity of local communities”.
The DES sets out the agreed priorities that will create the best possible conditions for sustainable local economic growth aligned with the NSDP goals.
Lebona said the PSIP would guide the NSDP to foster good practices in terms of institutional arrangements, technical capabilities, financial resources, and policy practices that can help the government achieve important goals at different stages of the investment cycle.
It will serve to link the NSDP with the capital spending and development budget.
The third document, the NSDP implementation plan, will serve to identify key activities and outputs for each fiscal year by line ministries.
“Ministries are expected to develop their budget framework papers on operations plan which are in conformity with the NSDP,” Lebona said.
There will also be a monitoring and evaluation framework (MEF) which will serve to translate the NSDP strategic goals into quantifiable development results and targets for 2012/13-2016/17, given the project resource mix and efficiency gains.
“MEF will be a tool to track and assess progress in relation to the agreed and desired development outcomes and targets and be the basis for reporting and holding different institutions accountable for results.”
Commenting on the documents, ‘Mantopi Lebofa, the director of Technologies for Economic Development , said much as the NSDP and its supporting documents were very good policy plans, they lacked the input of civil society . She said NGOs had not been consulted in their formulation.
“Civil society involvement in development of policies is vital as it can contribute to informed decision making in environmental protection and sustainable development, for example,” said Lebofa.