Com­pet­i­tive­ness pro­ject bears fruits

Sunday Express - - BUSINESS JOURNAL -

. . . 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.

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