This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Help us please: Matlanyane’s plea to development partners  

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa. Contact us today: News: editor@lestimes.co.ls Advertising: marketing@lestimes.co.ls Telephone: +266 2231 5356

Leemisa Thuseho

FINANCE and Developing Planning Minister, Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane, has implored Lesotho’s development partners to help the country in its battle to contain the myriad challenges it is facing including zero economic growth.

The help of the development partners was badly needed now than at any prior period because of Lesotho’s multiple crises of low productive capacity, income inequality, rampant poverty, high unemployment, and deteriorating infrastructure, among others.

“Lesotho’s need for development partners’ support is now more obvious than ever before,” Dr Matlanyane said in opening remarks at a one-day High Level Aid Coordination Forum at Maseru Avani Hotel yesterday.

Lesotho’s main development partners like the European Union (EU), and the United Nations (UN), were represented, at the event meant to understand and coordinate their aid and development programmes wherever possible.

The Forum is also used as a consultative mechanism between the government of Lesotho and its various development partners.

Dr Matlanyane said Lesotho was currently battling with deteriorating social and economic conditions. The country remained vulnerable with low investment in key priority areas, was hampered by low productive capacity, and high-income inequalities.

“All these are enough to prove that Lesotho needs development partners support now more than ever to better deal with the challenges. Need for our development partners’ support is more pronounced now than ever before, as the country is grappling with deteriorating social and economic conditions,” Ms Matlanyane said.

“As I indicated in the 2023/24 budget speech, we have experienced economic contractions of about 1.7 percent on average between 2017/18 and 2021/22. We have experienced higher inflation rates, a fragile fiscal situation as expenditure continues to outpace revenue and a widening current account deficit.

“Our country remains vulnerable with low investment in key priority areas, low productive capacity, and high-income inequality. Poverty is eminent, unemployment is rife, our infrastructure is in a deteriorative state, our health and education sectors are in shambles, and crime is rampant amongst our communities.”

However, Dr Matlanyane was swift to also assert that despite the challenges Lesotho faced, the support extended to the country by its development partners, played a pivotal role towards achieving Key Priority Areas (KPAs), Strategic Objectives and Key Policy Interventions outlined in the National Strategic Development Plan II (NSDP II).

The NSDP II identifies agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and technology and innovation sectors, as the key engines of economic growth, therefore Dr Matlanyane urged development partners to “prioritise these priority sectors”.

“I wish to implore our development partners to prioritise these key priority areas as we continue to support other key priority areas of the extended NSDP II in the upcoming years. This will ensure that we achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth and private sector-led job creation,” Dr Matlanyane said.

The finance minister further urged all stakeholders to join hands to map a way forward in achieving economic recovery that would “get our economy onto a resilient path”.

“I humbly appeal to everyone present here to utilize this platform as a forum to table our coordinated, collective and concerted efforts to rescue Lesotho and Basotho for the future of this country,” she said.

On behalf of the Lesotho’s development partners, the UN Resident Coordinator to Lesotho Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, said the Forum was “very necessary” for effective coordination of resources.

“The Forum is very necessary for the coordination of resources by partners and all the relevant stakeholders to avoid duplication of efforts while working towards achieving the impact that we need,” Ms Mukwashi said.

She said she was impressed with the level of engagement of development partners in Lesotho and that the partners “have accepted the task to come with solutions to support and rise up to the challenges faced by Lesotho”.

According to Ms Mukwashi, to make aid more effective, all involved must align themselves with the five fundamental principles of ownership, alignment, harmonisation, management of results and mutual accountability.