MASERU — Prime Minister Thomas Thabane yesterday unveiled a policy document he says will guide the coalition government over the next five years.
The document comes nine months after Thabane’s All Basotho Convention together with the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP) formed a coalition government following a general election last May.
Launching the policy document at the State Library auditorium yesterday, Thabane said the document was an amalgamation of the three parties’ election manifestos to “reflect the views of the parties forming the coalition government”.
The policy focuses on land allocation and repossession, the fight against corruption and job creation.
“Government will implement the allocation and repossession of land by devising policies on the protection of agricultural and residential land as well as laws and regulations to review existing land laws,” the document says.
“There will also be a revisit of land allocation laws in Lesotho as well as structures established to deal with land allocation as well as restoring land allocation powers to local government authorities.”
In an attempt to achieve maximum production in agriculture, the document says the government will strive to protect land by fighting soil erosion, devising a proper policy on the allocation of residential sites, helping farmers with irrigation equipment and meeting farmers halfway with inputs such as seeds and manure.
It adds that it wants to grow Lesotho’s economy through utilising the country’s natural resources including minerals, water, tourism and “everything else with the potential to help boost the economy”.
To achieve this, the government will establish a National Planning Board “to advise and follow up on implementation of government policies for economic growth”.
On the issue of natural resources, the policy says, government will devise clear policies to ensure that Basotho benefit from them “especially those from areas which they are mined”.
“Government will also establish a body called the Mining Authority to offer guidance on the administration of all issues pertaining to mining,” the document says.
“On the aspect of water government will use water to generate electricity, expand its distribution and enable the poor to also have access to it.”
To further grow the economy, the government says it will develop clear policies outlining how many jobs an investor is expected to create and how such an investor is expected to work with Basotho businessmen from all business categories “for the purpose of alleviating poverty and growing local businesses”.
“For the improvement of people’s lives and the creation of jobs, government will develop clear policies on the construction of roads, dams and retail space for all people to have a piece of the economy,” the document states.
On the aspect of education, the government says it plans to revive the sector by restructuring the education ministry by ensuring that the level of education offered responds to the core needs of the country.
“Government will also empower and improve schools by developing them in sport and upgrading their libraries while providing sponsorship for tertiary education depending on the financial capacity of parents,” it adds.
“Government will also revisit and review the rules and regulations on which the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) operates and improve the sponsorship fund.”
On the issue of crime, corruption and fraud, government says it will develop a policy to fight fraud and corruption and empower the directorate on corruption, government accounting and audit department, the police, courts of law, the Ombudsman and the Legal Aid.
“We will also put into effect a policy on the Declaration of Assets by senior government officials and form relations with independent local and international agencies dealing with fighting corruption,” the document states.
To enhance the livelihoods of factory workers, shop assistants and domestic workers, government will look into options for the provision of transparent terms of engagement, and a review of their salaries “by establishing the Wages Advisory Board to conduct inquiries into how their salaries can be improved”.
According to Thabane, the policy document was subject to scrutiny adding that those with misgivings were at liberty “to criticise us”.
“We’re an open government and ready to be held accountable if we do not implement the content of the policy or deliver as promised,” Thabane said.
“If you hate it, like it or partially hate it, you are at liberty to say so. But judge us for what it is.”