THE Ministry of Trade, Cooperatives and Marketing and the World Bank recently handed over information and communication technology (ICT) equipment to the Ministry of Law and Constitutional Affairs.
The project was facilitated through the Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project.
The equipment included 150 computers, 42 printers, three heavy duty printers, 31 laptops, 17 projectors, 14 surge protectors, one scanner and 10 uninterruptable power supplies (UPSs) among others.
Addressing guests at the handover, World Bank country representative Janet Entwistle, said she was pleased that through the Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project, her institution could support different ministries and organisations.
She said the equipment would be used to develop sound legal frameworks to underpin rapid transformation through solid mechanism to support the legislative process.
“Supporting the government to develop sound legal frameworks underpinning rapid transformation of the country and solid mechanisms to support the legislative process, are key priorities in our engagement in Lesotho,” Ms Entwistle said.
“This equipment will facilitate electronic copies of legal documents to be shared, without being driven across town, at each stage of the approval process.
“I urge the Cabinet and concerned ministries and agencies therefore to make good use of this line of World Bank support. I also urge all to be vigilant in accessing best practice legislative processes and document management systems, including those online.”
She said the key mandate of the Ministry of Law and Constitutional Affairs was to promote the rule of law and to ensure the maintenance of law and order.
“However, we must all acknowledge that this is a shared responsibility.
“While the World Bank commits to providing support to better legislative process, I call on you to also actively participate and guide these legislative processes at all levels and support the ministry in achieving greater results.”
For his part, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Halebonoe Setšabi, said it was essential for the Ministry of Law to be well-equipped to efficiently drive the legislative drafting processes of the ongoing national reforms process as the national consultations were almost complete.
“Good ICT systems will help the government to deliver on critical laws in a timely manner and thereby build the nation’s confidence in the overall reforms process,” Mr Setšabi said
He said the equipment along with previous donations, the ongoing technical assistance in the form of capacity building in the office of the Parliamentary Counsel and the technical support to Law Reform Commission were valued at M12, 3 million.
For his part, Law minister Habofanoe Lehana said the equipment would help his ministry reach new heights in digitalisation that had seemed impossible due to lack of finances.
He said the gesture would create an environment suitable for investment and economic transformation by ensuring that all the departments worked together towards the attainment of all the goals that the project was set up to achieve.
“This support will strengthen the provision of our legal services throughout Lesotho and our relationships with our stakeholders not only in the economic reforms, but also in the digitalisation of the ministry and information sharing with other institutions and jurisdictions.”
He said the handover came at an opportune time when the ministry was currently working towards the implementation of the Integrated Case Management System Project (ICMSP) which is meant to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts by using advanced technologies.