Home NewsLocal News Billions worth MCC Compact II finally unlocked 

Billions worth MCC Compact II finally unlocked 

by Lesotho Times
0 comment

Mathatisi Sebusi/Hopolang Mokhopi 

THE government finally met the deadline to unlock the implementation of the multi-billion maloti Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact II.  The project will now be officially launched on 11 April 2024 at the Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village. 

This after parliament successfully enacted the three outstanding laws which the United States government has set among the pre-requisites of beginning implementation of the MCC Compact II. 

The three laws are the Labour Code Amendment Act 2024, Administration of Estates and Inheritance Act 2024 and Occupational Safety and Health Act 2024. Parliament had gone into overdrive to ensure their passage by the 31st March 2024 set deadline. 

The MCC global Deputy Chief Executive Officer Chidi Blyden, the US Embassy in Maseru’s Charge D ‘affaires Keisha Toms Boutaleb, Prime Minister Sam Matekane and members of his cabinet are expected to grace the 11 April launch. MCA Lesotho II management and staff and other high ranking government officials will also be in attendance. 

Mr Matekane told the media on Tuesday that his government had received an implementation letter from the MCC, confirming the Compact Entry Into Force (EIF), starting from 31 March 2024. 

“This means that the Compact II investment worth USD$300 million from the US government, matched with USD$22 million from the Government of Lesotho is unlocked. It also means that the count-down for the five-year implementation timeline has started,” premier Matekane said. 

Mr Matekane said the three laws prescribed by the US government were collectively crucial in protecting rights of workers and those of women and children in particular those who were unable to defend themselves from the injustices entrenched in the society by cultural practises. 

The MCC Compact II is the $322.5 million (M6 billion plus) Lesotho Health and Horticulture Compact which seeks to assist the country in unlocking equitable and sustainable economic growth in partnership with the private sector by addressing key constraints to growth. 

The compact aims to enhance access to quality healthcare, foster equitable business development opportunities, invest in high value crop production, and boost profits and formal employment opportunities for women and youth-owned enterprises. 

Mr Matekane said after signing the Compact on 22nd May 2022, the government agreed it would start the implementation of the Compact by 31 March 2024, a date he said was called the Compact Entry Into Force (EIF) day. 

He said, to ensure that the project became effectively implemented, the government had already established an entity which would be responsible for Compact implementation – the Millenium Challenge Account- Lesotho II Authority (MCA-Lesotho II) – and also enacted the MCA Lesotho Act to legally establish the organisation. 

“This was followed by the appointment and launch of the MCA Board of Directors. You will recall that the Honourable Minister of Finance (Retṧelisitsoe Matlanyane) launched this Board in October last year. The Board appointed the MCA Chief Executive Officer (Mannana Phalatse), who in turn has been responsible for recruiting the rest of the MCA team. 

“The MCA-Lesotho II now has a total staff of 23 people, ready to oversee implementation of the Compact program,” he said. 

Mr Matekane said the job creation potential of the horticulture project alone was estimated at 4000 jobs, exclusive of indirect jobs that will be created through supplies packaging, logistics, cold chain activities as well as the processing of output. 

He said sectors which had been identified as key for the project, included but were not limited to, agriculture trade and industries, value chains, infrastructure development, tourism and creative sectors. 

He said there were also more than 94 000 jobs envisaged within the next 10 years under Business Environment and Technical Assistance. (BETA) programme.  

Mr Matekane said his government would not tolerate any corruption in the implementation of the Compact II projects and other processes of government. He invited, civil society, human rights defenders, media and the citizens to be watchdogs. 

As we forge ahead, my instruction to the MCA staff led by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, is that they should work diligently, to implement this Compact. There are several Basotho businesses out there that are eager to seize the opportunities that the Compact brings. 

“Serve them with integrity, accountability and dedication. I have full confidence in your ability to serve Basotho well and achieve the grand results articulated in the Compact and more,” Mr Matekane said. 

For her part, Ms Phalatsa said under BETA, small and medium enterprises would be empowered to ensure their growth. She said they had discovered that a lot of small businesses in the country had potential but were facing a number of challenges restricting their growth. 

Ms Phalatsa said some were new businesses with owners who were not yet familiar with the business environment. They therefore collapsed easily, while others were women owned and struggled to grow due to a lot of other responsibilities women have. 

“Under the technical assistance, there will be training for new and old business owners. Even though all businesses will be supported, focus will be on women and youth owned businesses to address high unemployment rate among women and youth. 

“Apart from training, businesses will be assisted in drawing business plans which will enable them to get financial assistance, while others which have good business plans will be given grants to grow their businesses with assistance from MCA-Lesotho II until their businesses are able to stand on their own,” she said. 

The Compact II project follows the first one which saw America invest billions in Lesotho’s health, education and other sectors.  

 

You may also like

Leave a Comment

About Us

Lesotho’s widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa. Contact us today: News: editor@lestimes.co.ls 

Advertising: marketing@lestimes.co.ls 

Telephone: +266 2231 5356