‘M20 billion investments for Lesotho economy’

0

Bereng Mpaki

INVESTORS who participated in the recently held Lesotho Investment Economic Laboratory have pledged to inject M20 billion into the local economy over the next four years.

The Minister of Development Planning, Tlohelang Aumane, this week told the Lesotho Times that the initiative has resulted in investment commitments of about M20 billion which will create 30 000 jobs.

The investments are expected to be pumped in through 77 high impact projects from four priority sectors of manufacturing, technology, agriculture and tourism. This is also expected to create in excess of 30 000 jobs.

This came out at the completion of the three-week long dialogue of the eco Economic Laboratory that took place from 13 March to 4 April this year.

The initiative is a specialised public-private sector dialogue aimed at achieving investment and job creation by pinpointing and removing obstacles that impede investment.

The initiative comes after the government adopted the methodology after attending a Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) workshop in Malaysia where the country’s experiences and those of other African countries were shared.

Spearheaded by the Ministry of Development Planning, the Economic Laboratory was officially closed by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who implored ministers and principal secretaries to implement the identified projects.

“I can confirm that total investments amount to about M20 billion and this is expected to create about 30 000 jobs,” Mr Aumane told the Lesotho Times.

He said the next step is to compile a full report on the outcome of Economic Laboratory which will be presented at a job submit later this year, where the public will get an opportunity to contribute and give feedback on the identified interventions.

He said a date is yet to be announced on when the job summit will be held.

According to the Bureau of Statistics, Lesotho’s official unemployment rate was 32, 8 percent in 2016, although the figure has likely risen since then.

Dr Thabane indicated in his opening remarks of the Economic Laboratory that the initiative is expected to result in creation of at least 22 000 jobs.

“It is our expectation that the target of creating 22 000 new direct jobs through the Economic Laboratory will be achieved in the near future,” Dr Thabane said.

And in his closing remarks of the dialogues, Dr Thabane said the implementation of the economic lab programme would quickly change the economic narrative of Lesotho.

“We now have a slate of new investment proposals but the most important phase of implementation has to start,” Dr Thabane said.

“I cannot say it enough. We have to deliver on our commitments as planned. So, I am declaring openly that we commit as the leadership of this government to deliver on our promises.”

Dr Thabane also appealed to the investors to bring in the investments which they promised as this would help to invite more private companies to invest in the country.

“We want the Big Fast Results — the name talks for itself, and we are not intending to do otherwise. I learn that there is a saying in Big Fast Results lingo that “A plan without resources is just a draft”.

“Therefore, where substantial investments are required, the Ministries for Finance and Development Planning should take the lead and work together with our development partners in mobilising new resources whilst maintaining macroeconomic stability and reprogramming where possible to ensure that the required public investments that will unlock the identified private investments can be secured.

“We should also continue to look at the investment incentives and regulatory frameworks with the aim of improving the investment climate.

“Furthermore, the lead ministers from the four selected sectors have already made their commitment for implementation. However, it is clear that they cannot solve the issues alone without synergy with other sectors. I would like to commit myself that I will ensure collaboration across all sectors during the implementation period. No more silos ladies and gentlemen, the silo mentality should be the thing of the past.”

He further said that the outcomes of the economic labs have injected a positive momentum towards the implementation of the second phase of the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP II), whose overriding objective is to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth and private sector-led job creation.

Dr Thabane also appealed to ministers and Principal Secretaries to take responsibility towards the implementation of the agreed action plans.

“Please take the baton and spearhead implementation of the agreed actions in your sectors. We are now headed towards the holding of a Job Summit whose date will be announced soon.

“Based on the outcomes of these economic labs, we will make firm commitments on the level of public sector investment to be committed and associated programmes that will support the private investments identified, at the job summit.

“In addition, the roles and responsibilities for all the stakeholders will be defined plus a presentation of the implementation plan and monitoring and evaluation framework, which will be monitored weekly. By then, we will also have advanced the establishment of the delivery unit,” Dr Thabane said.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.