|Overview : |
UNDP is the UN global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better and resilient lives . It works with individual countries on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. UNDP Lesotho is implementing its Country Programme (2019-2023) anchored on the Lesotho National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP II) the UNDAF (2019–2023) and guided by the UNDP Strategic Plan (2018–2021). The Programme comprises three pillars: (i) Governance, for Accountability, Social Cohesion and Stability; (ii) Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Growth and (iii) Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Resilience. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNDP is also working with the government of Lesotho, development partners and other national stakeholders and development partners to support the national response.
As a response to the global pandemic of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), the Government of Lesotho is implementing measures for prevention and control of the spread of the virus, including a social distancing and country- wide lockdown and restriction of movements for non-essential movements. Operations for all non-essential activities were closed for a period of 6 weeks since March 29th, 2020. It is expected that these measures and the pandemic will have far reaching and wide impact especially economic stability and sustainability of businesses in the country. Challenges such as disrupted supply for essential goods, including food and medical supplies and reduced demand for key services are expected to affect SMEs operations especially in transport, tourism, manufacturing, and informal sector, leading to loss of loss of incomes and jobs.
In this regard, the Government of Lesotho has pronounced a broad policy response to support the hardest hit individuals and private sector. For the private sector, the government will provide credit guarantee facilities through local banks and once-off matching grants for SMMEs. Some of the emerging challenges for implementation of this programme is lack of a credible business register for informal businesses. The OBFC (One-stop Business Facilitation Centre) manages the national business register and issuance of licenses of some economic activities in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Environment and Ministry of Agriculture for specialised businesses. However, more than 80% of SMMEs are still operating informally as sole proprietorships.
As support to the Government of Lesotho (GoL), and in collaboration with the Ministry of Small Businesses and Khathangtema Baitsokoki, UNDP through the Lesotho Accelerator Lab and Enhancing Youth Empowerment Sustainable Development will support design and development of a register and database for informal businesses operators in Lesotho to ease access to development and access to support services to the sector. UNDP is therefore looking for a local consultancy firms or team of consultants to design and develop an online self-registration platform for the informal traders and street vendors in the country. This platform will assist GoL to deliver support services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure availability of up-to-date data to enable implementation of policies in support of the sector.