‘Focus on infrastructure development’

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Bereng Mpaki

INFRASTRUCTURE development has been highlighted as one of the critical factors in the implementation of the second National Strategic Development Plan 2018 – 2013, whose development is being led by the Ministry of Development Planning through its NSDP II Secretariat.

A series of validation workshops that kicked-off Monday and are scheduled to end on 28 May 2018 saw the developers of the NSDP II seeking the input of different stakeholders into the draft plan. The plan will provide a basis for the country’s activities for the next five years. 28th convention centre

The NSDP II builds on the previous NSDP 2012-2017 and also gives recognition to the post 2015 development agenda as well as the African Union Agenda 2063.

According to the NSDP II coordinator, Maluke Letete, in order to address the country’s current challenges such as a public sector driven economy, infrastructure should be developed in such a way that it will support the private sector, which is currently marginalised.

The NSDP II also seeks to address the country’s increasing levels of poverty (57 percent) and unemployment (32 percent).

“We desire to move to a situation where we have thriving private sector and a small public sector as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP),” Dr Letete said.

“That is the destination that we want to reach through faithful implementation of this plan to define our growth path.”

He said the new national growth path is defined by four sectors namely manufacturing, tourism, technology and innovation as they have the potential to create jobs and reduce poverty and can bring inclusive economic growth for the next five years.

“The building of infrastructure must entirely support the private sector. If it does not, then it is never going to set free the economy,” Dr Letete said.

Speaking to the Lesotho Times on the sidelines of the workshop, Dr Letete indicated that Lesotho infrastructure in its different facets does not support private sector development.

“We have a huge crisis of creating jobs, as unemployment is affecting many youths in the country, so infrastructure will be instrumental in facilitating job creation with access roads, electricity connection and so on.

“We should not be building infrastructure for political reasons but according to its economic impact in that particular area because what we want to do is create jobs.”

Chief Economic Planner in the Ministry, Palesa Mashoai said vandalism and theft are some of the major constraints to service delivery in infrastructure.

She said this is encouraged by lack of legal frameworks and inadequate punitive measures to perpetrators.

She further indicated that the majority of population is unable to access internet service due to its high costs, while there is also limited electricity and renewable energy infrastructure and need for expansion of main roads around the country.

“We see that infrastructure development is generally haphazard and uncoordinated,” Ms Mashoai said.

She further indicated that as a result, the infrastructure sub sector members have started developing a memorandum of understanding between the utility providers to enhance coordination and integrated planning.

The next stage of the NSDP II is the development of the implementation plan.

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