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‘Cut public sector spending’

Mpeshe Selebalo

 MASERU — The World Bank’s vice president for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili, on Friday said Lesotho must focus on reducing public sector expenditure while promoting the private sector.

Ezekwesili, who was on a three-day visit to Lesotho, made the remarks while addressing a joint press conference with Finance Minister Timothy Thahane.

“The public sector composition of GDP (gross domestic product) is very large and is not sustainable,” Ezekwesili said.

“What the government needs to do is to focus on implementing policies that will enable the private sector to grow.”

She said the public sector had performed well over the past decade which saw the country achieve an average economic growth rate of 3.5 percent.

Ezekwesili said the government must use its limited resources effectively with more emphasis being placed on controlling expenditure and centralising service delivery.

“In all countries that are performing well in fighting poverty it has been the case of articulating and implementing sound economic policies,” she said.

Ezekwesili said policies that will be formulated to improve the business climate in Lesotho must be a joint product of the public and private sectors.

“Countries that have market-friendly policies have better chances of developing and public-private partnerships can benefit the country,” she said.

Ezekwesili said there were vast opportunities in the tourism sector which could contribute to the economic growth of the country.

“The tourism sector is a specialised sector and more effort has to be made to transform this service sector into a money magnet for Lesotho,” Ezekwesili said.

Thahane said the private sector needed to grow to drive Lesotho’s economic growth sustainably.

He said local production must be of a much higher standard for the country to be competitive on the global market.

“We have to change some of the policies which will improve the business climate for the country to develop more jobs,” Thahane said.

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