Lesothoâ€™s Petroleum Fund will today bring in one space various players in the business sector players during a multi-sectoral webinar as a way to harness it as a resource, or a partner in economic emancipation.
This comes after the realisation of the high inflation rates driven by the war in Ukraine. According to some reports, the war has led to a 30 percent increase in oil prices.
This has prompted the Petroleum Fund to carefully reflect on the role of the petroleum sector in building the economy in a country already suffering from pandemic-driven inflation.
The aim of the multi-sectoral webinar is to provide a platform for dialogue between Petroleum Fund and different economic stakeholders, to deliberate on the role that Petroleum Fund and different economic stakeholders can play in economic emancipation, and to establish some of the opportunities that can be harnessed in the petroleum sector.
Speaking to this publication, the Public Relations officer of Petroleum Fund, Rorisang Mahlo, said the webinar is for the engagement of all stakeholders who are affected by the rising inflation.
Mahlo said Petroleum Fund has been observing and researching ways to make their regulatory mandate fair to Basotho countrywide.
He noted that they are going to consider all the suggestions which are going to be addressed during the webinar so that they could make the regulations that are inclusive and fair to Basotho.
He said they have learned about different programs such as the Basotho Enterprise Development Corporationsâ€™ (BEDCO) initiatives which are aimed at reducing unemployment and indicated that they are going to engage more in the social development issues.
â€œWe also want to start making our mandate as regulators of all petroleum products and services so that Lesotho can have at least three reservoirs and the margin line between the wholesaler, retailer and the consumers so that one person cannot occupy all three stages as on one of the inclusivity measures,â€ Mahlo explained.
In its press release dated August 15, 2022, the Petroleum Fund, stated that the three-dimensional challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment cast a spotlight on the role that the petroleum sector can play in alleviating poverty.
Also, the private sector is looking at whether there are opportunities to leverage from the petroleum sector.
The statement further states that the multi-sectoral attention on the sector necessitates constructive engagements between the Petroleum Fund as well as the business sector.
â€œPetroleum Fund needs to cultivate a better understanding of the role they can play in economic emancipation and provide insights into some of the opportunities that can be harnessed by different sectors,â€ read the statement.
The establishment of the Petroleum Fund was approved by Government in 1995 following a request to do so by the Ministry of Natural Resources and it was legally established by the Establishment of Petroleum Fund Legal Notice No. 96 1997.
The need for the Fund was prompted by the necessity to have some measure of fuel supply security in the absence of strategic fuel storage facilities.