Timely boost for economic reforms

Timely boost for economic reforms

MASERU  – DESPITE being the nerve centre of the law making process the Ministry of Law and Constitutional Affairs has been left to make do with archaic and broken computers.
The result has been inordinate delays in drafting new laws and amending those that have to be spruced up to remain relevant.
This has created an impression of a ministry either not pulling its weight or simply not up to the task.

But that is likely to change after the ministry received computers, printers and projectors from the World Bank. The equipment was donated through the government’s Private Sector Competitiveness (PSC) project.
Part of the Ministry of Trade, the PSC seeks to promote private sector development by removing obstacles that make it difficult for business to start and operate.
The objective is to create an ideal environment for business to start and thrive. The ultimate goal is to diversify Lesotho’s economy to create employment and reduce poverty.

PSC Project Manager Chaba Mokuku said Lesotho is in a race to diversify the economy to reduce overreliance on the textile sector which depends on a concession likely to expire for good in 2025.
“The primary objective is to promote private sector investment through improving the business environment by removing all horizontal obstacles that make it difficult for investment to happen in the country,” Mokuku said.

He said to grow the private sector and diversify the economy Lesotho has to reform some of its laws and regulations.
“The equipment will make it easier for the ministry to draft and research the laws and regulations that make it easier for business to operate,” Mokuku said.
“It will also help the ministry coordinate with other government institutions that require help with laws and regulations.”

Worth M10 million, the equipment includes 150 computers, 31 laptops, 42 printers, 17 scanners, 104 network points, 11 network switches and other accessories.
The ministry’s head office, district offices and the government printers will share the equipment.
Janet Entwistle, the World Bank’s country representative for Lesotho, said the equipment will help “streamline and digitize legislative process”.
The goal, Entwistle added, is to make it easier to draft laws, research and share information.

“The flow of the bills will match the government’s policy to remove obstacles to private sector development,” she said, adding that copies of bills, laws and regulations will be shared electronically. Trade Minister Halebonoe Setšabi said the equipment will help the ministry fast-track draft laws and coordinate the drafting.
This equipment is crucial for data capturing, online research and the general administration of justice.

Habofanoe Lehana, the Minister of Law, said he is pleased that the equipment is coming at a time when the government is working broader reforms.
Lehana said constitutional, security, judicial and parliamentary reforms are crucial for the peace and stability vital for economic growth.
The principal secretary in the Ministry of Law, Colonel Tanki Mothae, later told thepost that the equipment will dramatically change the ministry’s operations. He said before the donation the ministry had “broken and outdated equipment”.

“There was literally no information technology to talk about in the ministry,” Colonel Mothae said.
“This equipment is coming at the right time, particularly because we are dealing with national reforms that the ministry is leading.”
“With this equipment we will be able to quickly draft laws and transmit them to the relevant stakeholders and partners. It also enhances our research capacity.”

Business Reporter

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