With a mission statement to build sustainable enterprises contributing to national economic growth, BEDCO is also mandated to establish and develop indigenous Basotho-owned business enterprises with particular emphasis on the promotion of entrepreneurial skills.
Commenting on the enterprise’s failure to live up to expectations, Mr Phapano said: “It must have a data base of well-trained small business entrepreneurs and a team that monitors as well as evaluate their performance. Mine as the PS would be to give them the green to get funding from local banks based on reports I received from BEDCO.
“But for now, BEDCO does not exist. It is not accomplishing anything and needs to be revived. Its focus is on collecting rentals from its rented buildings. We have to see the corporation helping prospective entrepreneurs that have ideas which they want to develop into business ideas; what we call business germination.
“It should successfully lead in business trainings; build the capacity of entrepreneurs by equipping them with the requisite skills needed to start, operate and grow their businesses.”
To this end, he said the government is not convinced that BEDCO is effective enough in fighting disturbing ratings of unemployment in the country.
The corporation that falls under his ministry rents out its incubation centres to entrepreneurs as a way of ensuring that they have work space as a business supporting service.
Mr Phapano commended the recently launched national road show by the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) aimed at promoting the corporation’s finance instruments within the local private sector and participating commercial banks.
His opinion is that the ‘partial credit guarantee fund’ under this project, should have been spearheaded by BEDCO.
“The functions of LNDC, along with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, SMDM – BEDCO should be separated. They cannot operate jointly. BEDCO should develop investors that could be sold to LNDC. Ours as the ministry is to approve businesses from BEDCO that their profiles could be sold to banks in search of funding opportunities,” he explained.
The expected outcome of the LNDC road shows is to increase awareness of existing investment opportunities, broader participation of the local private sector in contributing to economic growth and increase awareness of LNDC stakeholders’ activities or programmes that support the local private sector.