MASERU – The LESOTHO Government has dismissed as false information alleging Prime Minister THOMAS THABANE has been in poor health, saying he is alive and healthy – with no signs of illness.

The Press Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office says the allegations are just propaganda by opposition parties to discredit the Premier.

THABO THAKALEKOALA says Prime Minister THABANE has been attending the Universal Exposition 2020 in DUBAI, the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.

In another development, the Deputy Prime Minister has told delegates to a Cabinet Retreat in the capital, MASERU, creation of jobs, especially the youth, should be at the heart of government plans.

MONYANE MOLELEKI says the past has been painful for the nation – as it was marked by political instability, unemployment, and human harassment, which led to the current economic fragility.

He says the authorities should be determined to make a positive difference as challenges that also include insecurity and polarisation in politics left many BASOTHO vulnerable.

Deputy Prime Minister MOLELEKI says the Cabinet Retreat shows ministers are determined to achieve a peaceful environment for all.

He says a well-planned budget will allow the country to reach expected constitutional, security and media reforms; and at the end of the Retreat, they will have basic knowledge of the procedures that guide budget preparations.

The author of WHY AFRICA IS POOR – AND WHAT AFRICANS CAN DO ABOUT IT, GREGORY MILLS, has made a presentation at the gathering.

He says the nation must deal with its central challenges that include an unstable political system and a concerning security environment, in order to position LESOTHO for prosperity.

Mr MILLS says LESOTHO should consider its proximity to SOUTH AFRICA as a chance for growth and it must capitalise on its great natural wealth like water, which has the capacity to contribute to development.

The LESOTHO Cabinet Retreat was to come up with ideas for the National Strategic Development Plan Number TWO to be implemented in the next FIVE years; and to approve the priorities for the 2018 to 2019 National Budget./Sabanews/cam