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Reform business environment: Aumane



MASERU – Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification boss, Chaba Mokuku, says there is strong political will and stakeholder commitment to ease the doing of business in Lesotho.

Mokuku was speaking at a workshop to discuss the 2018 Ease of Doing Business Index report released by the World Bank.
Lesotho slumped to position 106 out of the 190 countries that were surveyed. It was previously on position 104.
Mokuku said the slump should not discourage Basotho when compared to other southern African countries.
Mokuku said most delays lay with technocrats due to limited technical capacity and experience and the absence of requisite tools and systems.

“There is political will and strong stakeholder commitment but what is lacking is the relevant systems and experience,” Mokuku said.
A World Bank official Svetlana Pabagaudinova indicated that there are several areas that need improvement to enable Lesotho to improve its rankings before the new rankings index comes out in October.

She said publishing property registration statistics and publishing fees for construction related procedures and commercial court case judgments online can easily improve and bump Lesotho higher on the rankings index.

She stated that improving the business environment should not only be done to attract foreign investors but is critical for domestic investors as small, micro and medium enterprises are the engine of a well performing economy.

Speaking at the workshop, Development Planning Minister Tlohelang Aumane said business reforms which focus mainly on the domestic entrepreneur are vital to the development of the economy.

“Reform of the business environment will ease the policy, legal and regulatory burdens of the private sector and ensure increased productivity, growth and ultimately the ability to create jobs,’’ Aumane said.

He said small businesses are the major driver of growth for both developing and developed economies, which has potential to turn innovations into successful businesses if fully given the opportunity to grow.

He stated that foreign investment is determined by doing business reform of a country since foreign investors when determining whether to invest or not in a certain country consider the way domestic investors are being treated.

“A country where domestic entrepreneurs endure significant policy, legal and administrative barriers in the business environment is unlikely to inspire much confidence from foreign investors,’’ he said.

He mentioned that Lesotho’s performance on doing business across 190 economies has slightly deteriorated to rank 106 as compared to rank 104 last year.

“Compared to last year, some indicator rankings such as dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering properties, protecting of minority investors, getting credit and resolving insolvency had decreased because other countries were reforming faster,’’ he said.

He said the results were not so good and more effort needs to be put to ratify the legislation that has been modified.
He explained that in Lesotho there is still a need to implement new legal regimes such as an online one-stop-shop for business registration and to partake in intensive public and private sector education campaigns to ensure the implementation of reforms.

Refiloe Mpobole

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