PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane says the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is set to grow by M14,4 billion to M38 billion through the implementation of the Big Fast Results initiative which is meant to stimulate job creation.
Dr Thabane said this yesterday during the launch of the Jobs and Investment Summit as well as the Lesotho Economic Laboratories roadmap.
The premier committed to ensuring the success of the newly adopted Big Fast Results initiative to expedite job creation through investment promotion.
The jobs and investment summit was meant to present the outcomes of the Lesotho Economic Laboratories, which is part the government’s strategies to create jobs in line with the National Strategic Development Plan II. The economic laboratories were held from March to April this year.
The summit would be followed by an investor-financer forum penned in for today at Avani Maseru. The forum is meant to tackle access to finance challenges to support the investment projects. The two processes are expected to provide the foundation for the implementation of the investment identified during the economic laboratories.
The Big Fast Results strategy was adopted by the government from Malaysia to spur economic transformation. The government engaged PEMANDU Associates, a Malaysian consultancy firm to implement the strategy.
Delivering the keynote address at the summit, Dr Thabane said that the economic labs have identified 77 high impact projects with a total investment of M19, 9 billion that have the potential to create 30 000 jobs.
The economic labs comprised of a series of workshops involving stakeholders from the public and private sectors to mobilise investment into four prioritised sectors namely agriculture, manufacturing, technology and innovation, and tourism and creative industries.
“The reports indicated that the economic laboratories engaged 399 project owners who came voluntarily, out of which 77 projects were prioritised after careful assessments, based on agreed criteria,” Dr Thabane said.
“With the successful implementation of the 77 projects, the GDP is expected to increase by M14, 4 billion during the implementation period of up to 2023, unlocking M19, 9 billion in additional private investment, and generating over 30 000 jobs. I must mention that the government has pledged M1, 2 billion to leverage investments of the 77 projects.
“The government also recognises that achieving these results will require institutional and regulatory reforms in some areas to facilitate the implementation of the projects. The government has also committed to implementing investment climate reforms as well as the other labour market reforms as reflected in the decent work programme III.
“We will also continue to invest in human capital development as a necessary condition to realise growth and employment on a sustained basis. The wider national reforms programme will also enhance the robustness of the development results to be realised in the medium to long term.
“Today your government pledges publicly its commitment to provide the necessary impetus towards implementation of the transformation plan, as reflected in the roadmap. Investors, please also honour your commitments,” Dr Thabane added.
For his part, Minister of Development Planning, Tlohelang Aumane, said that a dedicated unit under the Prime Minister’s office would be established to monitor the projects.
“To attain quality results, a dedicated unit under the Prime Minister’s office will be established to monitor and evaluate all projects that have been identified.
“This team will focus on assisting each sector’s delivery units, known as ministerial delivery units, to solve problems that may arise, implement the roadmap, send updates to ministers and the prime minister, and to support any additional labs,” Mr Aumane said.
Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro, said the jobs summit is a journey that began 2014 adding that it was remarkable that it is finally coming to fruition after five years. He however, said the implementation, which lies ahead was the difficult part of the journey.