News Detail

CBS Support February 17, 2020

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!!!

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