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All talk, no action

Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro

Feb. 26, 2021 3 min read

3 min read

SUCCESS of the second phase of the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP II) is in doubt as the government has shown little interest to ensure its progress since 2019.

Little action has been seen since the development of the programme that seeks to create 49.3 percent of jobs and reduce the number of people living below the poverty line by six percentage points from 49.8 percent to 43.8 percent.

This employment target however, will be achieved if the economy grows gradually to about 5 percent in 2022/23. The growth target is the minimum required to sustain poverty reduction and achieve NSDP II objectives.

Substantial increases in investment from the current 28 percent to at least 50 percent will also be required to meet the target level of employment and economic growth.

But, just like with the first phase of the programme, (NSDP I) which covered the period between 2012/13 to 2016/17, it seems it was the case of all talk and no action as no progress has been made to this end.

Last week, Minister of Finance Thabo Sophonea had nothing to show to demonstrate any progress, two years later since the development of the NSDP II.

What he reiterated instead were the projections same as that of former Minister of Finance and the current Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majora for the past two financial years.

In his 2020 budget speech presentation for instance, Dr Majoro had noted that under the NSDP II, the government was in the process of identifying the investments that will create jobs needed for Basotho.

He said more than 77 bankable projects had been identified from the private sector with a total investment of M20 billion and more than 30 000 jobs.

But to date, no word has been said about such investment programmes. Last week, Mr Sophonea reiterated old statements that government must accelerate implementation of the NSDP II, a comment which indicates that nothing has been happening on the ground.

“Government proposes acceleration of the implementation of the National Strategic Development Plan II through further prioritization of key programmes and actions that will create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

“We will continue to focus our efforts and investments in the following sectors to lead us to recovery namely agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and mining,” he said.

At this pace, it becomes almost evident that the government will once again fail to implement yet another development programme like it happened with NSDP I.

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Furthermore, some of the challenges that resulted in the failure of NSDP I have not been rectified, implying that the very same experiments are likely to restricts progress of NSDP II.

With NSDP I, the government revealed that several challenges, some of which lied outside the control of the country, impeded the full realisation of NSDP I goals and targets.

Chronic political uncertainty and politicisation of civil service management were labelled as some of the main challenges together with institutional fragmentation and lack of coordination.

There was also a weak link between NSDP priorities and spending patterns as well as the fall of donor support and untimely monitoring and evaluation as well as weak implementation management. 

“These weaknesses have provided lessons and have been reflected in the design of a new strategic framework for NSDP II that gives a sharper focus on the potential strategies that can accelerate the achievement of higher employment creation and inclusive economic growth among others,” former Minister of Development Planning Tlohelang Aumane had said.

But, some of these challenges still persist today and can prevent progress. Political uncertainty still persists; spending patterns remain weak as well as institutional fragmentation and lack of coordination.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can also be seen as another major threat towards the achievement of these strategic goals. 






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