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Project to ease cross-border trade



MASERU – THE Ministry of Trade yesterday launched the Lesotho National Single Window (LNSW) Project which seeks to cut the administrative cost of trading across borders. The LNSW is meant to boost trade.

The launch was conducted in collaboration with the Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project (PSCEDP) through the support of the World Bank and Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA).

The Commissioner General of the LRA, Thabo Khasipe, said they view this initiative as a vehicle to help them realise their revenue mandate and contribute to Domestic Resource Mobilisation.

He said they foresee a multi-fold improvement in clients’ satisfaction levels as they utilise the Single Window as a tool of trust in the course of tax and cross-border trade service.

“The LNSW will enable the agencies connected to share certificates, licences, and permit information electronically and that is a good start towards collaboration,” Khasipe said.

“The combination of electronic single window and Coordinated Border Management will go a long way in improving the trade facilitation ranking of the country for the benefit of trade and the economy,” he said.

Minister of Trade, Dr Thabiso Molapo, said the birth of the LNSW presents a window of opportunity to be harnessed by both government and the private sector.

He said this will improve real-time and cost-effective sharing of information between traders and government agencies, and amongst government agencies.

“This will also provide predictability and transparency on all the regulatory requirements,” Dr Molapo said.

“This initiative came at an opportune time after Lesotho ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement,” he said.

He said this environment will enable them to expedite the movement and clearance of goods at the borders. He said it will also provide them with real-time data to monitor trade and trade trends for better policy interventions.

“An opportunity has been presented before you take advantage of this initiative for the betterment of your businesses and economic growth of the country,” he said.

The Project Manager of PSCEDP, Chaba Mokuku, said the objective of this project is to support the private sector development in Lesotho by improving the business environment by reducing the time, cost, and processes of doing business.

“The project is aimed at diversifying sources of growth with a focus on priority sectors,” Mokuku said.

He mentioned that there were numerous initiatives introduced to improve the business environment in Lesotho which include company registration and business licensing system at the OBFC.

“Today we are launching the LNSW which is aimed at reducing the administrative costs of trading across borders,” he said.

The Minister of Agriculture, Keketso Sello, said agriculture remains a critical sector for food security and employment creation in our country. However, its contribution has declined over time. He said this electronic platform will facilitate smooth and speedy processing of documents required for export and import.

“We need the system which will improve our effectiveness and efficiency to import and export our products,” Sello said.

Refiloe Mpobole

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