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Government holds investors’ forum

Dr Moeketsi Majoro

Aug. 29, 2019 3 min read

MASERU – The Ministry of Development Planning on Thursday last week held a financiers and investors forum in Maseru in a bid to ensure successful implementation of a road-map intended to address the challenge of unemployment in Lesotho.

In his remarks, Minister of Finance Dr Moeketsi Majoro said the inaccessibility of credit and capital is a major impediment to the development of Lesotho private sector, particularly Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This Dr Majoro said prevented SMEs from acquiring the new technology that would make them more productive and more competitive.

He said there was an urgent need for collaborative efforts by all stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the credit needs of the sector for the identified projects from the economic labs waiting for the adequate financing, more especially the start-ups and SMEs. According to Dr Majoro, SMEs are a major component of the private sector which has been identified as the engine for growth in the overall development effort of the government of Lesotho. The minister said over 80 percent of all registered businesses in Lesotho fall within this category.

He therefore showed that the perfect entrepreneurial idea was essential before commencing business adding that the issue of finance came last. Speaking at the same forum, Minister of Development Planning, Dr Tlohelang Aumane applauded the investors and financiers for prioritising the matter of employment.

Dr Aumane said it could only be through close collaboration by those responsible that Lesotho would be a better place for doing business. He said this would help overcome the obstacle of access to finance which had been bothering people. For his part, the Director of Policy and Strategic Planning, Mahlape Ramoseme disclosed that they had identified 23 projects which required funding for their successful implementation.

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Ms Ramoseme said in ensuring the success of implementing National Strategic Development Plan II (NSDP II), the government had engaged with PEMANDU Associates to share their National Transformation Programme experience in Malaysia and other countries such as Tanzania, Nigeria, Botswana, Senegal, St. Lucia Russia and India.

In an exclusive interview, one of the entrepreneurs, Timothy Thamae from the Department of Research and Innovation at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) expressed their heartfelt gratitude as entrepreneurs for the initiative, saying they had long waited for it. Mr Thamae said business ideas were not a problem, but capital to commence such businesses was as a major constraint.

According to the latest World Bank annual ratings, Lesotho is ranked 106 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, and access to credit is the main problem as Lesotho sits at 85 while South Africa and Namibia are ranked 73 comparatively with Southern African Customs Union (SACU) counterparts in the region. NSDP I time-frame was 2012/13 until 2016/17, however it has not fully achieved its objectives.

The NSDP II was launched and will be implemented from 2017/18 until 2022/23. The plan emphasises on private sector development and pursue sustainable inclusive growth.

According to the study conducted by Department of Bureau of Statistics (BOS) under the Ministry of Development Planning in 2015/16, Unemployment Rate in Lesotho is estimated at 32. 8 percent with 36 percent being youth particularly.

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