MOST Basotho want the country to process its diamonds before exporting them to ensure that they fetch higher prices on the international market.
This was one of the views that came out of the in-district consultations of the on-going national reforms process. The views were presented at the second plenary of the Multi-stakeholder National Dialogue Programme in Maseru last week.
The second plenary ended last Wednesday making way for the launch of the National Reforms Authority (NRA). The NRA is expected to be launched on Friday.
Basotho are of the view that beneficiation of diamonds could also go a long way in creating jobs.
The views are contained in the in-district consultations report prepared by the National Dialogue Planning Committee (NDPC). The consultations were done from 18 March to 18 May 2019 through public hearings where the views were recorded.
“Diamonds and other natural resources should be sold as finished products to increase sales,” the report reads.
“Basotho with interest in mining industry should be capacitated and financed.”
General Sentle, a local diamond expert who spoke at the economic sector session of the national dialogue, said having foreign investors benefiting more from processing Lesotho’s diamonds than Basotho was tantamount to day.
“It is vital for us to know the correct value of our diamonds because we are only told their value by the investors. They basically determine how much they want to pay us for our diamonds,” Mr Sentle said.
He also said the powers of bestowed upon the minister of mining to have the final say on awarding licences should be trimmed adding that the composition of the mining advisory board should be reviewed to that the minister is advised by competent people.
“The government should stop appointing the mining board based on political affiliation because such people know nothing about mines and minerals.”
Meanwhile, the combined reports on the economic thematic area of the national dialogue attributed the current lack of economic development to political instability and insecurity.
This attributed to litany of factors among them poor government planning, poor financial management, flouting of public procurement regulations and poor administration.
The report said the factors accounted for lack of growth and people-centered socio-economic development.
This situation manifests itself in the form of deepening poverty, high unemployment, poor service delivery, corruption, nepotism and politicisation of employment,” the report said.