The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Thabiso Molapo on Wednesday launched the Lesotho National Single Window (LNSW) at the event held in Maseru.
LNSW is an online portal for applications and issuance of cross-border permits, certificates and licences. This facility allows relevant stakeholders in trade and transport to lodge standardised information, mainly electronic with a single point to fulfil all import and export transit-related regulatory and transitional and logistical requirements.
Speaking at the event, Dr Molapo said today Lesotho celebrates the attainment of one of the strategic objectives of the ministry.
He noted that the Ministry of Trade and Industry is mandated to enhance trade for all by reducing the regulatory cost and time to conduct business transactions.
” To survive in the changing global trading eco-system, we must ensure that our businesses always remain relevant and competitive. On this call, the ministry undertakes to implement the investment climate reforms premised on the notion of streamlining all the business processes to improve the lead times to do business in Lesotho,” he stressed”
He mentioned that international trade continues to play a pivotal role in the economic transformation of many African countries, saying the businesses, especially the MSMEs are facing numerous challenges to exploiting these opportunities and sometimes their gains are eroded by the unclear, bureaucratic and costly processes.
He stressed that this initiative came at an opportune time after Lesotho has ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
He said this environment will enable the ministry to expedite the movement and clearance of goods at the borders, adding that It will also provide real-time data to monitor trade and trade trends for better policy interventions.
He, therefore, expressed gratitude to the World Bank for the unwavering and continuous support to the Government of Lesotho and congratulated the Lesotho National Single Window team who worked tirelessly to make this initiative a success today.
Also speaking, the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) Commissioner-General, Mr. Thabo Khasipe said today marks yet another notable milestone in a journey we jointly embarked upon for the development of trade and revenue services and courtesy of the passion for transformation demonstrated by government ministries.
He said the fundamental role of a revenue administration as an enabler to the government’s modernization agenda cannot be overemphasised, saying LRA have adopted a strategy underpinning the successful implementation of service-oriented.
He noted that revenue-generating, and trade facilities policies go through various tax initiatives and leveraging.
Giving his remarks, the World Bank Representative, Mr. Michael East said he is glad that the World Bank managed to support Private Sector development, saying Lesotho and World Bank have a long-standing partnership to work on Private Sector development.
He noted the LNSW is a government initiative and the World Bank is only funding the project, saying the bank is committed to supporting the government of Lesotho.
On the same token, Project Manager, Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification, Mr. Chaba Mokuku said the digital transformation is profound that no one can ignore it, saying the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the change to extend that individuals and intuitions embrace the power of technology in all spheres of life.
The project is in the pilot phase and only four government agencies thus LRA, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Marketing Department and Livestock Department will be involved.
By Staff Reporter: ‘Maphoka Likotsi