FINANCE Minister ’Mamphono Khaketla will tomorrow present the 2016/17 fiscal year budget in the National Assembly amid calls for the government to institute reforms to tackle of a myriad of economic challenges.
Dr Khaketla’s budget presentation comes at a time when the economy continues to face serious macro-economic challenges related to the slowdown in the South African economy and reduction of Southern African Customs Union revenue.
Economist and Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project Manager Chaba Mokuku called on the government to effect structural reforms to cope with the challenges.
“The slowdown in South Africa and decline in SACU revenues are a clarion call for the government of Lesotho to put in place structural reforms that ensure the economy weathers the current storms,” he said.
“The civil service wage bill needs to be cut, and this would mean that many jobs would be lost. Resultantly, the private sector needs to be developed so it can absorb the unemployed.”
Meanwhile, All Basotho Convention Secretary-General Samonyane Ntsekele urged the government to spur private sector growth to redress the high unemployment rate.
“The government should come up with initiatives to grow the private sector because it cannot afford to hire everyone and address the issue of unemployment,” he said
“We are also hoping that the allocation for the education sector will improve to ensure no child is denied an education.
“The government also needs to prioritise combating food insecurity which has been worsened by the prevailing drought conditions.”
Mr Ntsekele added that the opposition parties’ presence or absence during the budget presentation would not hinder the parliamentary process.
“Whether we will be there in the National Assembly or not, the seven party coalition will proceed anyway because there is no rule of law and good governance in Lesotho.”