The Government of Lesotho has on Wednesday announced M19.9 billion worth of private investment and new job opportunities of over 30 000 for Basotho as committed in the National Strategic Development Plan Plan (NSDP) II 2018/19-2022/23 .
In his keynote address during a Job and Investment Summit held in Maseru, the Prime Minister (PM) Dr. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane asserted that the government is ready, and its ambitions are bold and necessary to address the biggest challenge of unemployment facing Lesotho, saying the targets may seem of Olympian magnitude today, but are achievable with the support and confidence of the private sector, development partners and the public.
He expressed with pride that following 10 weeks of lab work which involved participation of around 399 project owners, subject matter experts as well as captains of industries, the Lesotho Economic Labs have identified detailed plans to unlock potential of four productive sectors, through a total of over 70 priority projects comprising of Agriculture, Manufacturing, Technology and Innovation as well as Tourism and Creative Industries sectors.
Speaking at the same occasion, Minister of Development Planning, Dr. Tlohelang Aumane said every project will be implemented and monitored under a Ministerial Delivery Unit (MDU) that will be established under all ministries involved, whom he revealed will report directly to the PM’s office, saying in this way, every lead minister will be accountable for the progress of each project in meeting the targets.
He indicated that plans and persons responsible for each component of this programme have been identified, adding that the focus and priority must now be on the relentless implementation of the projects to ensure that they deliver on these promises for the benefit of all Basotho, thereby noting that this is the government’s commitment to Basotho.
On the other hand, Minister of Finance, Dr Moeketsi Majoro called on to government, businesses, development partners, labour and civil societies to join hands to adopt this initiative of creating jobs, grow the economy and reduce poverty.
He emphasised that this is an achievable output that can only be made possible by strong collaboration between the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and business owners.
Meanwhile, 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 the youth.
The Lesotho Economic Labs were initiated to meet objectives of Key Priority Area (KPA) 1 under NSDP II which is to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth and to generate employment through the private sector.
The aim of the labs was to ascertain the strategic direction for each sector by assessing the industry landscape, its challenges and opportunities as well as identify prioritised initiatives that will enable and promote growth in these sectors, thus unlocking investment and creating employment.
The government of Lesotho will invest M1.2 billion to ensure success of job creation.