Improve business climate, says US ambassador

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MASERU — The United States ambassador to Lesotho Michelle Bond yesterday urged the government of Lesotho to address factors that drive away foreign investors.
“It is critically important to address remaining specific factors that give foreign investors pause, or that make Lesotho less attractive,” Bond said.
The US ambassador was speaking at a function to mark her country’s 235th independence anniversary in Maseru yesterday.
“Lesotho scores very low on annual rankings of nations as places to do business like the Doing Business Indicators.
“A few specific changes to your regulations and laws would boost Lesotho’s score significantly,” she said.
Lesotho last year slumped to position 138 out of the 183 countries that were surveyed in the Doing Business report which was released by the World Bank earlier this year.
Last year Lesotho was ranked at position 130.
The report noted that Lesotho had not done enough to improve the business climate for foreign investors adding that the lack of business growth had contributed to the country’s low gross domestic product.
Bond said it was important for Lesotho to change some of the laws that are seen to impede foreign investment.
“Let’s resolve to raise Lesotho’s rank as a place to do business this year by significantly reducing the number of days it takes to register new business, and by addressing the cost of and minimum required capital to start a business, the time and cost associated with obtaining construction permits the time required to register a property, ability to obtain credit and legal protections for investors.”
Bond said she wanted to help raise Lesotho’s international profile by highlighting the country’s strengths.
Acting foreign affairs minister Semapo Sekatle was the guest of honour.
Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla and other senior government officials also attended the function.

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