A LESOTHO Congress for Democracy (LCD) led government would institute preferential policies that foster the creation and growth of Basotho-owned businesses, party leader, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, has said.
Addressing hundreds of party supporters at a star rally at Lepereng grounds in Maseru last week, Mr Metsing said supporting home-grown businesses and equipping school-leavers would catapult Lesotho from a least developed country status to a fast developing nation within 10 years.
He said, once re-elected into government, the LCD would ensure there is a review of government procurement policies to favour Basotho-owned companies.
“Big companies and foreign-owned companies would be forced to partner with Basotho-owned companies. We will introduce policies that would ensure Basotho-owned businesses get a huge share of government jobs since it is the largest source of revenue for private companies,” Mr Metsing said, amid cheers from the crowd.
He said while the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) was effective in discharging its duties, taxation laws and regulations were adversely affecting small start-up companies.
“We need to look into the laws and regulations (governing the operations) of the LRA and ensure they support the development of small and medium enterprises,” said the LCD leader.
“We need to create a better LRA whose tax collection does not lead to the collapse of small companies, since the only way to end our high unemployment rate is through the jobs created by small companies.”
He said the LCD would also craft policies directed towards uplifting women and youths and establish a development bank to empower marginalised groups.
Mr Metsing said it had also come to the LCD’s attention that local companies were also failing to succeed due to government’s failure to pay for services rendered timeously.
He said to rectify such problems, an LCD government would reduce bureaucracy by giving ministries direct control over funds allotted to them without having to seek the Ministry of Finance’s approval for every payment.
“Ministries should have control over their funds so that we do away with the red-tape that delays payments by government to businesses providing services,” said Mr Metsing.
“To ensure the preferential treatment policies become a success, businesses should be paid on time for all services rendered to the government.”
The Local Government minister also said municipalities would also be able to operate their own bank accounts and finance their own projects without the direct involvement of central government.
“We are going to come up with a local government financial policy to ensure the decentralisation of financial powers now that we have a framework in place which I ensured would come to fruition during my tenure as Local Government minister,” he said.
He said, if elected, the LCD would urge big corporations to employ more workers where possible and reduce the use of machinery and employ more people.
Mr Metsing claimed that diamond mines make “huge profits” while using machinery to unearth the gems, instead of employing “some 100 men and women”.
He said it would be prudent for voters to elect an LCD government which would ensure mining companies reduced machinery usage where possible and employ more people.