MEMBERS of the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) have called on the government to stay out of business.
Founder and managing director of Matekanae Group of Companies (MGC) Sam Matekane, and the president of LCCI Ntaote Seboka said government has no expertise to business and should therefore leave it in the capable hands of the private sector.
The two businessmen, said this on their recent return from Canada where Mr Matekane received a business excellence and philanthropic award from the Canadian business community.
Through the recognition, Mr Matekane has also been appointed an ambassador of the African business community and he is now expected to act as a conduit between Canadian businesses and those from the continent.
Mr Matekane said given a fair opportunity, the private sector has the capacity to respond to the interests of the government such economic development and job creation.
“The government should stay out of business and let the private sector handle its business; that is my humble plea,” Mr Matekane said.
“The government’s role is to create an enabling environment for the business to operate in. Only business can lead itself properly.”
Mr Matekane also said political instability and corruption negatively impacted on the country’s ability to attract investment.
“The major obstacles in business are political instability and corruption. It was also discussed in Canada, that when a country is unstable, and is involved in corruption scandals, then it becomes a challenge for investors to come in because they do not inject money in unpredictable environments. They will simply look for other countries to invest in.”
For his part, Mr Seboka said the government must support the private sector by giving it job opportunities.
He also called on the government must ensure that public servants stop competing for tenders with the private sector which is also expected to create jobs.
“Government tenders should be given to the private sector to support it. This tendency of awarding tenders to public servants is not working.”
The sentiments come shortly after Small Business Minister Chalane Phori recently made headlines after publicly revealing that his company has participated in a M340 million road construction tender.
Local Government Principal Secretary, Khothatso Tšooana recently sensationally claimed that First Lady, ‘Maesaiah Thabane, directed that a lucrative M340 million Mpilo Boulevard tender be awarded to the Chinese owned UNIK Construction Engineering company.
Mr Tšooana made the claims when he and Maseru City Council Town Clerk, Moeko Maboee, appeared before the Selibe Mochoboroane-led Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recently.
Mr Tšooana also claimed that two cabinet ministers, Mahala Molapo (Local Government and Chieftaincy) and Mr Phori also supported the directive.
He said Ms Thabane and the two ministers wanted UNIK awarded the tender to reward its owner for assisting Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.