News Categories: local news

28 Jul
By: Mantletse 0

The Operationalisation of the Lesotho of the Lesotho Standards Institution (LSI)

OFFICIAL ADDRESS BY THE MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY HONOURABLE DR. THABISO MOLAPO AT THE OPERATIONALISATION OF THE LESOTHO STANDARDS INSTITUTION (LSI)

AT
MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY
PREMISES

Wednesday, 16th September 2020
Let me pay my respects to:
• His Majesty, King Letsie III;
• The Right Honourable the Prime Minister, Dr. Moeketsi Majoro;
• Honourable Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Mathibeli Mokhothu;
• The President of the Senate;
• The Speaker of the National Assembly;
• The Chief Justice;
• Honourable Ministers;
• Senior Government Officials;
• Representatives of Media Houses;
• Distinguished Guests;
• Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Representatives of Media Houses,

On behalf of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and indeed on my behalf, it gives me great pleasure to finally announce operationalisation of the Lesotho Standards Institution (LSI). LSI is the national standards body of Lesotho which is mandated to:
• develop and publish national standards;
• carry out testing activities;
• certification and inspection services;
• conduct training to capacitate our industry; and
• indeed, support public policy and regulation to protect our society.
Countries around the world have taken different approaches in shaping their national standards bodies. Our story is shaped by rigorous studies and consultations; leading us to a model that is unique and best suited for our economy. We deliberately used a mix of the modern world, benchmarking against the likes of Sweden and Iceland in Europe; while at the same time putting it in context by studying models used by our counterparts in the SADC region – Botswana, Swaziland, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mauritius.
It is my strongest believe, therefore that LSI has assumed the best model, to purposely respond swiftly to the needs of private sector.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Representatives of Media Houses,

The establishment of LSI marks one of my Ministries greatest milestones. For some of you who have shared and followed our story, you will agree with me that it has indeed been an arduous journey. The LSI Act was published in 2014. I was duly informed that thereafter, several attempts were made to make LSI operational.
You will agree with me that 2020 presented challenges that stretched our economy to the limit; with dire consequences on livelihoods of many. The Ministry of Trade and Industry, together with its partners and stakeholders have been working tirelessly to assist Government to implement its plan of creating jobs mainly through private sector-led initiatives. To begin with; our Ministry has secured markets for our products, to mention but a few, under
• Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
• Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA)
• And the newly implemented Continental Africa Free Trade Area
It is paramount therefore that we use LSI to its fullest extent possible so as to secure our share in the vast African market and beyond.
This move is in line with priorities stipulated in the 2020/21 budget speech aimed at growing the economy by increasing production of high value products for export. The National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP II) purposely sets a new outlook for Lesotho’s economy, putting more emphasis on developing export led trade. For this reason, creation of the LSI is much more important, now more than ever before.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Representatives of Media Houses,

It goes without saying that LSI is long overdue; as you can attest that many Basotho are making significant strides in manufacturing. With LSI in place, we expect to significantly reduce compliance costs, which are especially burdensome for small producers. There are a number of products in agro-processing such as dried fruits and vegetables, wines, soups, juices, dairy products, and other products such as bottled water, leather products, handicrafts, garments and many more. Furthermore, in the service sector; services such as testing, banking and consultancies offered by Basotho owned businesses; also need support from LSI.
Let me conclude by pledging my support and most importantly our Government’s support towards ensuring that LSI will deliver on its mandate. I would also like to thank my predecessors for laying the groundwork for LSI’s success.

KHOTSO!!! PULA!!! NALA!!!

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21 Sep
By: CBS Support 0

REMARKS BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY, HON. DR. MOLAPO

REMARKS BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF
TRADE AND INDUSTRY, HON. DR. MOLAPO
HANDOVER CEREMONY OF INDEX OF LAWS OF
LESOTHO TO THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE AND LAW
AT
GOVERNMENT PRINTING
PREMISES
Thursday, 17
th September 2020
Please allow me to start by paying my respects to:
His Majesty King Letsie III;
The Right Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Moeketsi Majoro;
Honorable President of the Senate;
Honorable Speaker of the National Assembly;
President of the Court of Appeal;
Ladyship the acting Chief Justice;
Honorable Minister of Justice and Law Professor Nqosa Mahao;
Excellency; World Bank Country Resident Representative Mr.
Yoichiro Ishihara;
The Attorney General;
Chairperson of the Lesotho Law Reform Commission;
Director of Public Prosecutions;
Principal Secretary Ministry of Trade and Industry;
Principal Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice;
President of the Lesotho Law Society;
Senior government Officials, Other Officials and Dignitaries here
present;
Distinguished guests;
Representatives of media houses;
Colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen.

Honourable Minister of Justice and Law Professor Nqosa Mahao;
your Excellencies; The Ministry of Trade and Industry today is
pleased to hand over to the Ministry of Law and Justice the Index
of Laws of Lesotho. The World Bank, through the Private Sector
Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project (PSCEDP)
provided funding to complete this project that had begun under
the Ministry of Justice Law from
December 2018 to August
2019
with funding totaling to M1, 896,000.00.
Deliverables produced under this project and subject to hand over
today entail;
100 hardbound copies of an index of Laws of Lesotho,
comprising of laws of Lesotho from the colonial era, post
independence up to 2018. The index is produced in four
categories of Chronological Index, Alphabetical Index,
Subject Index as well as Historical Index.
100 soft copies comprising DVDs and 3 flash disks.
In recent years, Lesotho has seen the decline in accessibility to
law generally, and this matter was exacerbated by the fact that
laws of Lesotho are scattered and cannot be found in one place,

there was no mechanism to trace which laws are in force or have
been repealed. For instance, the Constitution of Lesotho for
example has nine amendments to it, but this information would
without the index not be available for the public thereby
rendering laws inaccessible.
The index in this manner makes tracing of laws easy, thereby
enhancing accessibility to laws. In particular, the business sector
stands to profit in a much larger scale through the index because
local businesses and global investors will be in a position to find
information regarding business laws in Lesotho easily.
The Lesotho Law Reform Commission is in the process of
providing the index electronically to enhance access to it. You will
recall that the Ministry of Trade and Industry is already providing
under the One-Stop Business Facilitation Centre, registration of
companies electronically. It would seem therefore that the index
indeed serves as a big milestone in improving easy tracing of
business and trade laws locally and across the globe. We have
seen especially during this Covid-19 global pandemic that the
world is going digital and that trade and business seem to be
largely surviving that way.

You will recall that earlier in his First 100th Day Speech of
Administration, the Right Honorable the Prime Minister addressed
completion of this particular milestone as one of the
achievements under the core objectives for Improving
Governance and Accountability, as such it is befitting that the
Ministry of Trade and Industry hands over deliverables to the
Ministry of Justice and Law today.
In conclusion, let me once again applaud the World Bank, the
PSCEDP, the Ministry Justice and Law, the Lesotho Law Reform
Commission and other stakeholders who made this project
successful.
Khotso!!! Pula!!! Nala!!!

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21 Sep
By: CBS Support 0

OFFICIAL ADDRESS BY THE MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY HONOURABLE DR. THABISO MOLAPO

AT THE OPERATIONALISATION OF THE LESOTHO STANDARDS INSTITUTION (LSI)

MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY
PREMISES
Wednesday, 16
th September 2020

Let me pay my respects to:
His Majesty, King Letsie III;
The Right Honourable the Prime Minister, Dr. Moeketsi Majoro;
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Mathibeli Mokhothu;
The President of the Senate;
The Speaker of the National Assembly;
The Chief Justice;
Honourable Ministers;
Senior Government Officials;
Representatives of Media Houses;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Representatives of Media Houses,
On behalf of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and indeed on my
behalf, it gives me great pleasure to finally announce
operationalisation of the Lesotho Standards Institution (LSI). LSI is
the national standards body of Lesotho which is mandated to:
develop and publish national standards;
Page 3 of 6
carry out testing activities;
certification and inspection services;
conduct training to capacitate our industry; and
indeed, support public policy and regulation to protect our
society.
Countries around the world have taken different approaches in
shaping their national standards bodies. Our story is shaped by
rigorous studies and consultations; leading us to a model that is
unique and best suited for our economy. We deliberately used a mix
of the modern world, benchmarking against the likes of Sweden and
Iceland in Europe; while at the same time putting it in context by
studying models used by our counterparts in the SADC region –
Botswana, Swaziland, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mauritius.
It is my strongest believe, therefore that LSI has assumed the best
model, to purposely respond swiftly to the needs of private sector.

Page 4 of 6
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Representatives of Media Houses,
The establishment of LSI marks one of my Ministries greatest
milestones. For some of you who have shared and followed our story,
you will agree with me that it has indeed been an arduous journey.
The LSI Act was published in 2014. I was duly informed that
thereafter, several attempts were made to make LSI operational.
You will agree with me that 2020 presented challenges that stretched
our economy to the limit; with dire consequences on livelihoods of
many. The Ministry of Trade and Industry, together with its partners
and stakeholders have been working tirelessly to assist Government to
implement its plan of creating jobs mainly through private sector-led
initiatives. To begin with; our Ministry has secured markets for our
products, to mention but a few, under
Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA)
And the newly implemented Continental Africa Free Trade Area
It is paramount therefore that we use LSI to its fullest extent possible
so as to secure our share in the vast African market and beyond.

Page 5 of 6
This move is in line with priorities stipulated in the 2020/21 budget
speech aimed at growing the economy by increasing production of
high value products for export. The National Strategic Development
Plan (NSDP II) purposely sets a new outlook for Lesotho’s economy,
putting more emphasis on developing export led trade. For this
reason, creation of the LSI is much more important, now more than
ever before.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Representatives of Media Houses,
It goes without saying that LSI is long overdue; as you can attest that
many Basotho are making significant strides in manufacturing. With
LSI in place, we expect to significantly reduce compliance costs, which
are especially burdensome for small producers. There are a number of
products in agro-processing such as dried fruits and
vegetables, wines, soups, juices, dairy products,
and other
products such as
bottled water, leather products, handicrafts,
garments
and many more. Furthermore, in the service sector;
services such as
testing, banking and consultancies offered by
Basotho owned businesses; also need support from LSI.

Page 6 of 6
Let me conclude by pledging my support and most importantly our
Government’s support towards ensuring that LSI will deliver on its
mandate. I would also like to thank my predecessors for laying the
groundwork for LSI’s success.
KHOTSO!!! PULA!!! NALA!!!

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18 Mar
By: CBS Support 0

KETEKELO EA LETSATSI LA LEFATŠE LA LITOKELO TSA BAJI

Motsamaisi oa Tšebeletso ea kajeno, ke lakatsa ho qala pele ka ho isa hlompho e
khethehileng ho:
Hlooho ea Naha, Motlotlehile Letsie III;
Tona-kholo ea ’Muso oa Motlotlehi, Mohlompehi Dr. Thomas Thabane;
Mookameli oa ntlo ea Mahosana;
Motsamaisi oa lipuisano ntlong ea Bakhethoa
Moahloli e Moholo;
Bahlomphehi Matona a ’Muso oa Motlotlehi, haholo a teng koano;
Liofisiri tse kholo tsa ’Muso oa Motlotlehi;
Baphatlalatsi ba litaba;
Baeti ba khabane le lona bo-Ntate le bo-’M’e.

Motsamaisi oa litšebeletso, ntumelle hore ha ke se ke fetisitse litumeliso tsaka ho lona, ke bontše hore letsatsi lena ke la bohlokoa haholo. Kajeno re kopane koano ho tla keteka Letsatsi la Lefatše la Litokelo tsa Baji, le ketekoang selemo le selemo ka la Leshome le Metso e Mehlano,Tlhakubele (15th March).


Bo-Ntate le bo-’M’e,
Ke batla ho qala ka ho hlalosa ha khutšoane hore na re bolelang ka Baji kapa Moji. Moji ke motho e mong le e mong, motho ea amohelang tšebeletso kapa thepa, ekaba eo a e rekang kapa tšebeletso eo a e fumantšoang ntle le tefiso. Moji o tšireletsoa khahlanong le litloaelo le liketso tsa khatello tse etsoang ke bahoebi kapa bafani ba litšebeletso ka ho hlahlelloa le ho rutoa ka litokelo tsa hae e le moji.


Tšireletso ea baji e thonngoe ka mor’a tekenelo ea tumellano ea Machaba ea ho sireletsa Baji ka 1962 naheng ea Amerika (Consumers Rights Protocol). Ka hare ho tumellano ena ho hloauoe litokelo tse robeli (8) tsa baji tse ananetsoeng lefatše ka bophara ho sebelisoa ho tšireletsa baji. Lesotho joaloka setho sa Machaba a Kopaneng (United Nations) le ananetse tumellano ena ka selemo sa 1986 ka hoba setho sa mokhatlo oa Consumer International ele ho fana ka tšireletso ho baji.


Litokelo tseo ke tse latelang:
Tokelo ea:
ho ba le tsebo;
ho bolokeha;
ho utloahala;
ho buseletsoa;
ho ba le khetho;
ho fumantšoa thuto;
ho phela tikolohong e hloekileng; le
ho khotsofatsa litlhoko tsa mantlha.


Kea lumela joale hore bohle re na le leseli le phethahetseng ka litokelo tsa rona re le baji.
MOHOO” oa selemo sena o re “MOJI EA IKEMETSENG – SUSTAINABLE CONSUMER” hona ho bolela tlhahiso e tsetsitseng ea thepa, lijo le litšebeletso ho tloha mohloling o tšepahalang oa tlhahiso. Ke molemong oa bophelo bo botle ho bohle esita le paballeho ea tikoloho le taolo ea sekhahla se phahameng sa bofuma.

Har’a litokelo tsena, le tla elelloa hore mohoo ona o ikamahantse le tokelo ea ho phela tikolohong e hloekileng. ’Me hona ho bolela hore re ikatele ka ho tseba litokelo tsa rona re le baji, kamehla ha re sebelisa chelete ea rona re hopole litokelo tsena, re be re nke boikarabello ba rona hore li tle li re sireletse. Lekala la heso le se le kentse tšebetsong Leano la Tšireletso ea Baji (Consumer Protection Policy) e le ho sireletsa baji ba Lesotho khahlanong le mano a borakhoebo le bafani ba litšebeletso. Ofisi ea Boiketlo ba Baji e lekaleng la heso e ntse
e potoloha le naha ho ruta le ho phatlalatsa Leano la Tšireletso ea Baji. Sena e se etsa e le hore likateng tsa leano lena li tsejoe ke batho bohle hohle ka har’a naha le moo e bang tsa marang-rang kapa lia le-moea ha li finyelle. Lithuto tsena li etsetsoa baji le bahoebi hammoho hobane mohoebi ke mohoebi kajeno ke moji hosane. Bohlokoa ba lithuto tsena ke ho aha tšebelisano ’moho e mofuthu mahareng a moji
le mohoebi.


Bo-Ntate le Bo-mme, le ka hopola hore morao tjena re lula re utloa litletlebo tse ngata tse hlahang ho baji ka bahoebi le tse hlahang ho bahoebi ka baji. Sena se ka nna sa bakoa ke hobane melao e sireletsang baji ka har’a naha ea Lesotho e laoloa makaleng a fapaneng ho ea ka mefuta ea likhoebo. Ele ho leka ho fokotsa sekhahla sa metsi ana a kenang ka moeli; Lekala la Khoebo le Mesebetsi e Moholo le se le
entse Setšoantšo sa Molao oa Tšireletso ea Baji (Consumer Protection Bill) se seng se hatetse pele haholo, se se se emetse ho hlohonolofatsoa ke Paramente ea Lesotho se tsebe ho kena tšebetsong.


Bo-Ntate le Bo-mme, ha re fihla mothating ona ke rata ho boela ke le leboha bohle ba atlehileng ho finyella ’mokeng ona oa ho ketekela Letsatsi la Lefatše la Litokelo
tsa Baji, ’me ka mantsoe ana ke phatlalatsa mona hore Letsatsi la Litokelo tsa Baji 2020 le tšoahiloe Lesotho.


MOREKI KE MORENA!!! MOJI EA IKEMETSENG!!! BOJI BO TSITSITSENG!!!
KHOTSO!!! PULA!!! NALA!!!

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17 Feb
By: CBS Support 0

Official Launch of E-Licensing and E-Regulations

Programme Director,

Allow me to begin my remarks by paying my respects to;

His Majesty the King Letsie III;
The Right Honourable the Prime Minister Dr. Motsoahae Thomas
Thabane and his Coalition Partners;
Honourable Ministers;
Principal Secretaries;
Stakeholders;
Development Partners;
District Business Forums;
Government Officials;
Media Representatives;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

Good Morning!
It is my privilege and honour to welcome you to this important and spectacular event where the Ministry of Trade and Industry will unveil
two platforms namely eRegulations Lesotho and eLicence Lesotho. A closer interrogation of these twin platforms simply says that with
eRegulations Lesotho, investors – both domestic and foreign – will have information well beforehand of the requirements and steps one is
expected to undertake. The advantage of this initiative is two-fold: for the investor, one would know all pertinent information relating to his
business without necessarily visiting our Offices, thereby embracing the principle of transparency – which will go a long way to curb potential
corruption.

The consequence of this will further reduce underhand processes which are usually the privy, discretion and territory of the Officers alone. The empowerment of our investors with this information sets the tone for consistent information in our services. On the other hand – by displaying all administrative procedures step-by-step, the policy makers would also have opportunity to revisit the procedures and make reforms that will be aligned with the current economic dynamics.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The new eLicence Lesotho platform is transactional in nature and our investors will lodge their applications for both traders and manufacturing licences online. This development potentially addresses the challenges that were inherent in our old system of issuing licences where amongst others:
• the system was not secure enough and the reporting
mechanism was very susceptible to fraud and
manipulation,
• the filing system was in tatters and without proper
audit trail,
• duplicate licences [Mafahla],
• inconsistent business activities resulting in loss of
revenue.

The system will also improve significantly, the turn-around times in terms of starting a business in Lesotho which is estimated at 1-3 days
from the current 7 days and as further enhancements in the legal framework [Business Licensing and Registration Act] come into
operation, a licence will be issued in a matter of minutes.

Ladies and gentlemen,
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has a mandate to take a leading role in creating an enabling environment for trade, investment, business and industrial development for private sector led job creation and poverty reduction.

It is in the premise of this mandate and in the spirit of other regional and international instruments that the Ministry is engaged in developing this IT infrastructure to effectively and efficiently fulfil its mandate to create enabling business environment. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] under goal 9 and the African Union Agenda 2063 number 10 advocate for enhanced IT infrastructure for betterment of people’s lives respectively.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the Ministry, we are much alive to the fact that the better part of our population does not use internet, with only 27 percent of the
population using internet as per the Global Competitiveness Report, 2019. While a range of reasons could be attributed to this, including
access, affordability and skills; the Ministry has been proactive by embarking on the Roll-out of One-Stop Business Facilitation Centre
[OBFC] project starting in 2014-18 which entailed Information Technology [IT] infrastructure and services to all districts of Lesotho.
Under this project all districts were connected to the internet coupled with public access sites [PAS] where people with limited internet access can utilize the internet for free to lodge their business applications and those internet illiterates, will be assisted by the Officers at these Offices.

These efforts by the government of Lesotho only illustrate the commitment for inclusive economic growth through transforming the
means of starting a business in Lesotho. On a brighter side, you will appreciate that Lesotho is among the 190 world economies being ranked under the World Bank Doing Business rankings. The Ministry of Trade and Industry is responsible for ‘starting a business’ component under the rankings. In the last year of assessment [2020], under the ‘starting business’, the country performed tremendously well. Compared to the previous year [2019] where it was standing at 119, Lesotho jumped by 35 steps to be ranked at position 84. [This is a historical performance since the inception of these rankings in 2004 and this deserves a round of applause]

Ladies and gentlemen, at this juncture, I want to avail this opportunity to myself on behalf of the Ministry of Trade, and indeed on behalf of the government of Lesotho, to pass my profound gratitude to the dedicated ‘respondents’ of the World Bank questionnaires who squeezed their busy schedules to reply to these questionnaires. Your work has exceedingly gratified us.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The sustainability of the infrastructures of this magnitude has been a concern to the government as maintenance and support costs seem to
be sky-rocketing beyond the initial installation fees. This has become a menace to the ministries’ budgets and nearly come to a halt as service
providers withhold their maintenance and support services because of non-payment by the Ministries. The same curiosity may arise as we
launch these platforms this morning. Allow me to hasten to allay your fears. The systems we are launching today have been developed by United Nations Convention on Trade and Development [UNCTAD] with fiscal support from the World Bank Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project [PSCEDP]. When negotiations for the contracts for development of these systems were started, emphasis on national ownership of the systems was made by the government and this entails that:
o All applications installed are open-source. The source code is
made available to the national counterpart.
o Applications are installed on local servers or on distant
servers chosen by the national counterpart.
o Detailed technical documentation and administration
manuals are made available for all applications.
o A user license is granted to the national counterpart for each
application installed.
o The information collected through the applications belongs
to the national counterpart.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
It would be remise of me if I could not appreciate the enormous effort and commitment of staff members of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and all stakeholders, who worked tirelessly with the consultants to shape up this work. I would like to convey my gratitude to the UNCTAD consultants present today to witness the conclusion of this profusely comprehensive work.
My gratitude also goes to the World Bank PSCED [PMU Staff] for all the support they extended to the Ministry during this journey.

Ladies and Gentlemen;
Distinguished Guests;
Media Representatives;
I now officially launch the Ministry of Trade and Industry eLicence Lesotho and eRegulations Lesotho at http://www.lesotho.elicinses.org and http://www.lesotho.eregulations.org respectively.

I would like to thank you for leaving your busy schedules for the official launch of these websites.

KHOTSO!!! PULA!!! NALA!!!

Read More
14 Feb
By: CBS Support 0

AGOA Response Strategy Launch

REMARKS BY THE HONOURABLE

MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY AT THE

OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF AGOA RESPONSE STRATEGY FOR LESOTHO

VENUE: AVANI LESOTHO
DATE: 27TH NOVEMBER 2019

Thank you master of ceremony;
Through you let me pay my respects to;

• His Majesty, King Letsie III,
• The Honourable the Prime Minister,
• The President of the Senate,
• The Speaker of the National Assembly,
• The Chief Justice,
• Honourable Ministers,
• US Ambassador to Lesotho, Her Excellency Mrs. Rebecca Gonzales
• USAID REGO Representatives
• Senior Government Officials
• Distinguished Guests,
• Ladies and Gentlemen.

A very warm welcome to you all on the official launch of Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Response Strategy for Lesotho. Allow me first of all to express my heartfelt thanks to the team from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (The Hub), the team from Ministry of Trade and Industry because without those constructive collaborations today’s event would not have been possible. Let me also extend my sincere appreciation to the US Embassy for their enthusiastic involvement and commitment in devising today’s event in resolutely empirical manner.

Since its inception on 18th of May 2000, AGOA has been centrepiece of trade relations between the US and sub Saharan Africa. AGOA has been amended six times since its enactment, the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015 was the longest extension in the history of AGOA and there is no guarantee that AGOA will be renewed after 30th September 2025.

It was therefore essential for Ministry of Trade and Industry with technical assistance from the USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub to review 2015 AGOA Response Strategy for Lesotho. The strategy provides a comprehensive plan to increase exports from Lesotho to the US under non-reciprocal unilateral trade preference program and attract more US investment to Lesotho. The strategy also focuses on diversification to increase exports of other products to the US under AGOA and avoid relying on export of textiles and apparel products.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The textile and apparel sector has in fact been one of the most visibly success stories in terms of AGOA’s impact in Lesotho; the textiles and apparel sector, which is second highest employer in the country employs more than 40 000 employees who are mostly women. However, as to take full advantage of AGOA we need to do away with the misinterpretation that AGOA is basically concerned with textiles and apparel only. There are in fact more than 6 400 product lines eligible under this agreement. It is a fact that besides textiles and apparel, Lesotho failed to take full advantage of the preference because of the following challenges;

• Declining value and volume of exports
• Lack of diversification – concentration on one sector
• Absence of standard testing facility
• Productive capacity
• Non-Tariff Barriers
• Lack or absence of investment from the US
• Lack of awareness of the AGOA programme

However, there are initiatives which are being undertaken to address some of these challenges.
The Government of Lesotho is implementing Economic Diversification Support Project through support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) with the objective to create jobs and promote inclusive growth through enhanced economic diversification and strengthen enterprise development. The project has a specific focus on private sector development through improved partnerships, entrepreneurship and skills development, and investment promotion in selected sectors critical for economic growth.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry through the Economic Diversification Support Project (EDSP) assessed the artisanal (arts and crafts), tourism, agriculture, agro processing and service sectors in Lesotho in order to have a clear idea to further develop export consortia and/or creative industries programmes which will be implemented to enhance MSMEs’ capacities and capabilities for export development and competitiveness.

The Lesotho National Development Corporation in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry with the support of the World Bank through the Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project are in the process of developing National Linkages Programme.

The Business linkages programme will therefore be used as an instrument for private sector development aimed towards achieving enhanced competitiveness, access to finance, access to both local and international markets, technology management, skills and knowledge transfer, and general capacity building. The program will also be used to address failures where the markets fall short of facilitating sustainable, shared and equitable growth.

Furthermore, the National Response Strategy is an important implementation tool which put in place specific and targeted action plans which will assist policy makers and the private sector in taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the AGOA initiative. The strategy resonates with aspirations of Lesotho Vision 2020 and National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP II) whose aim is to create sustainable jobs and alleviate poverty. The Strategy has identified priority sectors which are to export to the US under the programme. These include;

• Textiles and apparel
• Footwear products
• Natural/organic products
• Bottled water
• Canned foods
• Handicrafts and
• Leather products

On this note, I therefore want to emphasize that it is in our best interest to ensure that the AGOA initiative realises the intended objectives of deepening and expanding trade and investment between Lesotho and the US. We must also take effective measures to address the challenges that impede our ability to exploit market access offered by AGOA. Our focus for the remaining six years of AGOA should be on implementation of our national response strategy and build capacities to ensure full utilization of the programme.

As I conclude, I would like to register my heartfelt gratitude to our development partner, USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub for its tremendous efforts and vision in making this phenomenal occasion a success. I further wish to make a call to all stakeholders to work hand in glove to making this noble project a definite success for Lesotho. I thank all Government Ministries, Agencies and Private Sector who were involved in organising and participating in this event.

I thank you.

KHOTSO!!! PULA!!! NALA!!!

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14 Feb
19 Sep
By: CBS Support 0

Tripartite Free Trade Area High Level Consultative Workshop for Honourable Ministers, Members of Parliamentary Economic Cluster Committee and Private Sector, 01st August 2019

Programme Director
Allow me to begin my remarks by paying my respects to:
His Majesty the King Letsie III;
The Right Honourable the Prime Minister Dr. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane;
The Honourable President of the Senate;
The Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly;
The Honourable President of the Court of Appeal;
Her Ladyship the Acting Chief Justice;
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister;
Honourable Ministers;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
Principal Secretaries;
Representatives of the Tripartite Secretariat, Dr. Seth Gor;
Media fraternity;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is an honour for me to address and welcome you today at this important workshop on the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Tripartite…

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07 Aug
By: CBS Support 0

Sod Turning Ceremony for New Tourism Information and Crafts Centre- 18th April 2019

• His Majesty, King Letsie III,
• The President of the Senate,
• The Speaker of the National Assembly,
• The Chief Justice,
• The Deputy Prime Minister
• Honourable Ministers,
• Excellencies,
• Senior Government Officials
• Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good Morning!
Some 9 years ago, our iconic tourism information centre which was popularly known as “the Basotho Shield” was completely destroyed by fire. We have since been without a central tourism information facility in Maseru. Today’s event, therefore, marks a significant milestone towards reconstruction of the facility. It is indeed an great honour and privilege for me to deliver a keynote address at this auspicious event.Challenges facing the Lesotho Ladies and gentlemen, is serious economic and social challenges including, among others; poverty rates of 57%; high rate of unemployment estimated at 29%; unacceptable gap between the rich and the poor; sharp decline in SACU revenues which has led to constriction in the country’s fiscal space. In 2018/2019 our economy registered estimated growth of only 2%. Meanwhile, the government’s wage bill is among the highest in the world. These economic challenges are further compounded by a scourge of HIV and AIDS which in the last 18 years has reduced average life expectancy in Lesotho from 60 years to 49 years.

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18 Jul
By: CBS Support 0

The First China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE), Hunan, CHINA, 27th – 29th June 2019

REMARKS BY THE MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY, HOUNARABLE HABOFANOE LEHANA, AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE FOLLOWING THE FIRST CHINA-AFRICA ECONOMIC AND TRADE EXPO (CAETE)-HUNAN, CHINA – 27TH – 29TH JUNE 2019; HELD AT THE MINISTRY’S HEADQUARTES MASERU, FRIDAY 05TH JULY AT 09:00HRS.

Program Director;
Allow me to begin my address by paying homage to;
His Majesty King Letsie III;
The Right Honourable the Prime Minister Dr. Motsoahae Thomas
Thabane and the Leaders of the Coalition Government;
Chief Executive Officer of the Lesotho Development Cooperation;
Representatives of Local Business Association and Directors Enterprises;
Representatives of Manufactures and Entrepreneurs;
Government Officials;
Representatives of Media Houses;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to address you at this momentous occasion where we will be sharing with you our experiences and lessons learned from the recent, 1st China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE). The Expo was held in Changsha city in Hunan Province, in the People’s Republic of China, from the 27th – 29th June, 2019.

Programme Director,
Representatives of Media Houses;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The Government of the People’s Republic of China invited the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho early in January this year, to participate at the 1st China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE). The decision to host this Expo emanated from the fact that industrial promotion, emerged as one of the eight (8) major initiatives of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Summit (FOCAC) held in September, 2018; whose objective was among others, to strengthen economic cooperation between China and the African Continent.

The Expo showcased economic and trade opportunities between China and Africa; as well as exploring potential business opportunities for a more sustainable economic development. Alongside the Expo were also a series of Forums, Investment Promotion sessions as well as Business-to-Business negotiation platforms.

Programme Director;
Representatives of Media Houses;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

Allow me to share with you, how the already vibrant and friendly ties between Lesotho and China were rekindled through the CAETE; wherein the Chinese Government once again played a significant role in enabling Lesotho’s participation at the Expo. For the Ministry of Trade and Industry in particular, Chinese government’s contribution translated into us seeing some ten (10) Basotho Enterprises participate at the Expo, with quite a generous portion of sponsorship. On behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to express our sincere gratitude to the Government of China through the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.
In particular, many thanks go to His Excellency the Economic and Commercial Counselor Mr. Ma Guoliang.

As most of us may be aware, the People’s Republic of China boasts a 30% economic growth since her cooperation with Africa in 2014 and in a bid to encourage further mutual benefit from the cooperation, new features have been introduced into the Bilateral Cooperation and these include:
➢ Mapping of a clear action plan for implementation of the Bilateral Cooperation,
➢ China to support African countries on product development by providing technical guidance and capacity-building,
➢ Assistance on standards compliance of African products at production level,
➢ To meet the required Standards in China and Certification; primarily for safeguard against toxins in the products,
➢ To improve the Trade Facilitation level; and for this, China has set aside USD 5 Billion (as was reported in the Beijing Summit), to improve Market Access of African products to China,
➢ Integration of African products into the Chinese E-commerce Trade System was also cited as one of the potential growth engines from which Africa can benefit and hence a Win-Win Trade that CAETE seeks to achieve.

Currently, there are concessions for Duty-Free Quota-Free (DFQF) access of four thousand (4000) products from Africa to China. However, there is still a challenge of most African products being exported in raw state. As a solution to this challenge, it was reported that the President of China, Mr. Xi Jinping has pledged to import processed food products from Africa and this will translate into USD 40 000 Billion annually to help boost economic growth for Africa.

The Deputy-Director General of the Department of Commerce in Hunan Province undertook to establish a Research Institute for Africa-China Cooperation and to promote the best-practice models for China-Africa Trade and to develop supporting policies for China in alignment to the China-Africa Trade. The Director-Division of Country Programs encouraged support for improvement of MSMEs which have proven to largely contribute to the overall productivity of a country and hence increase the economic growth. The support can be through integration of the MSMEs into all trade models. This has proven successful for most Asian countries and the International Trade Center (ITC) availed itself for technical assistance in this regard.

Moreover, the Exim Bank pledged to set aside USD 5 Billion as support for import of products from Africa and offered customer-tailored financial services and to provide support for establishment of Special Economic Zones and Industrial Parks in Africa.

Programme Director;
Representatives of Media Houses;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

The Lesotho pavilion was well “furnished” and vibrant with a colourful spectrum of locally-made Basotho wares. These included Wool and Mohair products such as scarves, hats and shawls from the Lesotho Hand-Spun Mohair as well as Leribe Crafts. There were also beautifully crafted and hand sown leather handbags as well as machine-made tote bags and sandals made by Haka Productions and Jalad Leather works. On Textiles and Clothing, the United Manufactures Association of Lesotho (UMAL) and Maseru Tailors showcased the best of products which included men’s Afro shirts, trousers, scatter cushions and home wares and kitchen accessories. A good variety of handicrafts such as Seshoeshoe-made earrings and neck pieces were also available in colourful abundance. Cosmetics and medicaments came from Tlotsa and Makhaleng products and these drew a lot of visitor’s attention in the national pavilion.

Last but not least was the handmade Rosemary & Mint soap from Pula Brands (Pty) Ltd was very popular with visitors who included traders who sought to secure a supply contracts with the producer thereof. The Directors of two leather works Enterprises also entered into negotiations with a number of potential buyers.

Net Effect on the other hand, provided a rare selection of indigenous dried herbs that also drew a lot of attention among the Chinese visitors who visited the Lesotho stall. These are condiments made from wild, dried plants like bobatsi, kuena etc. The Chinese visitors who took great interest in these, even requested to have an infused boiling water brew of these dried herbs. Unfortunately we did not have a facility to do that.

Having said this, I wish to reiterate that the private sector is the core engine of growth for any country; hence the need to integrate it in all trade models as this will cater for the financial, technical and all other needs of the private sector. It is consequently recommended that the Lesotho Government’s budget for private sector development, whose growth has trickle-down effect on the country’s economic growth, be prioritized and beefed up; if only for selected sectors. This will help the Lesotho Private Sector not to rely on sponsorships in order to be
able to attend Expos and similar forums but instead be self-sustaining and sponsor its activities.

Programme Director;
Representatives of Media Houses;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

I wish conclude my remarks by appealing to all Basotho traders and producers to take advantage of this opportunity presented to them by the 1st China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo and ensure that they go full throttle in growing their businesses to their full potential. The People’s Republic of China has opened doors for every Mosotho dealing with any commercially viable commodity to export to China; as long as they have complied with laid down and predictable requirements. As indicated earlier, China-Africa cooperation boosted the Chinese economy by 30% in previous years and continues to do so. For this reason, I strongly believe that as Basotho, we can also benefit from this and other opportunities availed by the Chinese government.

Needless to say, with a growing economy more jobs are likely to be created and poverty significantly alleviated; thereby improving the livelihoods of Basotho. With this few words, I would like to end here.

KHOTSO !!! PULA!!! NALA!!!

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