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Movement calls for radical economic policies

Lijeng Ranooe

LESOTHO urgently needs to address the current political climate and implement radical policies and transformational strategies to achieve economic growth.

This was said by Pheko Ntsane, the Chief Commander of the Home of Aggressive Entrepreneurs (HEA Lesotho) – an economic movement that seeks to mobilise Basotho entrepreneurs and transform Lesotho into a stable economy by 2066.

Speaking at a recent press conference in Maseru, Mr Ntsane said that Basotho should be worried by the poor state of the economy which is heavily dependent on neighbouring South Africa even for the basic necessities which Basotho should be producing on their own.

“What we have been doing for the past 50 years has not been working therefore we should be aggressive and revolutionary if we want to see a complete and satisfactory economic change in this county,” Mr Ntsane said.

“As Basotho, we need to stop blaming the government and take responsibility and action. We have become lazy, too comfortable and fearful to take charge of our own future.

“51 years since independence, our country is deeply tormented by extreme poverty, unemployment, nepotism and corruption. Governments have come and gone. None of them and our politicians seem truly committed to liberating Lesotho from these social ills.

“For Lesotho to achieve meaningful economic growth, the country needs nothing less than radical economic policies which will stimulate sustainable growth. We urge the government and Basotho to fearlessly deploy radical transformational strategies to resuscitate the economy.

“In preparation for this historic operation, we invite all stakeholders, including government, farmers, entrepreneurs and the public for an open discussion titled ‘The Rise of the Mountain Kingdom’ which will be held on the 8 December this year at Lehakoe Recreational Club.”

HEA Lesotho also urged government to impose import restrictions on potatoes, cabbage and spinach as part of measures to reduce the excessive dependency on South Africa.

“It is a disgrace that Lesotho does not produce enough food to feed its people. The government and the people of Lesotho must all be ashamed of this humiliating fact.

“We need a sustainable agricultural sector. It is therefore in this positive spirit that HAE Lesotho requests the government of Lesotho to impose a deliberate embargo on importation of potatoes, cabbage and spinach in 2018.

“We propose the implementation of the ban be scheduled as follows: potatoes in April 2018, cabbage in June 2018 and spinach in September 2018.”

The organisation also spoke of the need to develop a continuous training programme that will equip Basotho entrepreneurs with practical skills to run successful retail outlets.

It also said lack of access to finance was inhibiting the growth of the private sector.

“Regrettably, our country’s financial services sector is dominated by foreign commercial banks and we urge the government to establish a fully-fledged National Development Bank which will provide financing for purposes of economic development of the country.

“We also urge government to accelerate the process of establishing a statutory standards body which will offer a complete range of quality services to Basotho.

“Most local manufacturers and producers are compelled to take their products to neighbouring countries for testing and certification. This process has proved to be complex and expensive for most entrepreneurs, hence our manufacturing sector is lagging behind in so many ways.”

HAE also called on Basotho to unite across party affiliations, saying political polarisation had made Basotho completely lose their love and devotion to their country.

“As we commence our journey into the next 50 years of independence, it is imperative for Basotho to heal, reunite, love and defend Lesotho.

“We therefore appeal to every Mosotho to love Lesotho, deliberately support Basotho-owned businesses and give priority to locally manufactured products.”



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