Competitiveness project bears fruits
. . . from BJ1
“To ensure greater impact and continued smooth implementation of the project, the additional financing will be used to scale up the project activities and consolidate their impact.”
The additional financing is also meant to support initiatives related to trade facilitation and logistics. The money will be invested in ensuring the Asycuda World System is linked to other government agencies as well as improving the automation and connectivity issues around it.
The Asycuda World System is a computer-based programme for administering customs systems. It was piloted in Lesotho in 2014 at Maputsoe border post as part of the Lesotho Revenue Authority’s broader Customs Modernisation Programme meant to simplify the clearing processes and reducing the costs of doing business at the border.
The government also launched the Economic Diversification Support Project (EDSP) on 27 March 2017 which is aimed at providing financial and technical assistance to the country’s 76 000 micro, small and medium enterprises as well as the approximately 7500 youths who graduate each year from tertiary institutions.
The objective the EDSP, which is scheduled to end in December 2020, is to contribute to inclusive growth through enhanced economic diversification and strengthening enterprise development.
It also seeks to support private sector development through improving partnerships, entrepreneurship and skills development as well as investment promotion in the sectors critical for economic diversification.
The project has three mutually reinforcing components mainly enhancing economic diversifica- tion to support targeted priority sectors and sub sectors and promoting enterprises development and project management support.
EDSP is financed by the African Development Bank Group to the tune of UA 7.22 million (about US$10.06 million) and M130 million under PSCEDP II. Of the UA 7.22 million advanced by the African Development Bank Group, UA5 million is a loan while UA2.22 million is a grant.
For his part, PSCEDP Project Manager Chaba Mokuku indi- cated that Lesotho’s investment climate had changed since the establishment of the project.
He said one major challenge the project was facing was the pace of the consultation processes involved in formulating necessary laws to improve the investment climate.
“Many laws get stuck at the technocrat stage. We are yet to establish the reasons for this. It could be lack of capacity on their part, whereby instead of admitting they are not conversant with the subject, they take a long time to respond,” Mokuku said.