..as some ministries’ budgets are increased and others slashed
THE national budget for the fiscal year 2018/19 which was presented by the Minister of Finance Moeketsi Majoro before parliament yesterday came with several adjustments to ministerial allocations as compared to the previous year.
The Health sector has been increased to M461.9 million from M280.1 million. Dr Majoro said it was government’s aim to work towards the achievement of 100 percent health coverage in all districts by 2020. This, he said, would be achieved by improving accessibility and affordability of health services through the construction of at least one health post per electoral division across the country. Provisions have also been made for the construction of a Cancer Treatment Centre for patients.
The Ministry of Education and Training has also been allocated M219 million which is an increase from last year’s M102.6 million. Dr Majoro said the government conducted a study that revealed that more than 300 000 students drop out of primary and high school. Therefore, the ministry will revamp its Technical Vocational Education and Training policy to accommodate the drop-outs in vocational schools and further ensure the skills they acquire match those required by employers.
The Social Development ministry’s budget has been increased to M163.0 million from M63.2 million in order to increase the coverage of the National Information System for Social Assistance (NISSA) to all community councils and to cover over 350 000 households.
The Finance ministry has been allocated M879.5 million as compared to the previous budget’s M738.1 million.
Ministry of Trade and Industry got a boost from last year’s M143.7 million when it was allocated M249.7 million. The government is on a mission to upgrade the national abattoir to meet international standards as well as the construction of 50 feedlots throughout the country (five per district).
The Ministry of Development Planning has been massively boosted from M12.4 million to M108.7 million. The bulk of the money will be used to fund tertiary students and vulnerable children’s education. The Minister of Development Planning, Tlohelang Aumane, this week told this publication that they were in the process of increasing the quota of students sponsored each year.
The Justice, Human Rights and Rehabilitation sector has been boosted from M45 million to M100 million. Its sister Ministry of Law and Constitutional Affairs’ allocation has remained constant at M20 million.
The Judiciary, which was last year afforded M26 million has this time been allocated M10 million.
Ministry of Home Affairs has been allocated M285.8 million which marks an improvement on the M150 million it received last year. The ministry is responsible for producing identification documents for every Mosotho among other responsibilities.
Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation
For a long time the sporting fraternity has lamented the lack of adequate support from the government. This year the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation has been awarded M66 million which is a significant improvement on last year’s M19.2 million.
Police and Public Safety
The Ministry of Police and Public Safety’s budget has been increased from M50 million to M72.5 million as peace and stability remain one of government’s top priorities. The Minister of Police, ‘Mampho Mokhele, last week said the police still lacked basic equipment required to effectively do their job.
Public Works and Transport
The ministry which has mandate to construct and maintain infrastructure has been allocated an increased budget of M967.4 million compared to the M946 million it received last year.
The Water Affairs ministry has been allocated M769.2 million which is an increase from last year’s M699 million.
Ministry of Mining’s budget increased from last year’s M8.2 million to M21.2 million.
The Foreign Affairs and International Relations ministry has this year been allocated M20 million. It is not clear how much the ministry received last year.
The Agriculture and Food Security ministry’s budget allocation has been reduced from M305.1 million to M123.8 million.
The Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs’ budget allocation has been reduced from M395.4 million to M391.9 million.
This fiscal year, the ministry of Communications, Science and Technology’s budget has been reduced from M313.8 million to M168.8 million.
The Ministry of Energy and Meteorology’s budget allocation has also been slashed from M285.4 to M218.2 million.
Despite being identified as one of the pillars to drive economic growth, the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture’s budget has been reduced from M130.7 million to M111.1 million.
The M56.8 million which was awarded to the Defence and National Security ministry in the previous fiscal year has been reduced to M47 million.
From last year’s M157 million, Ministry of Forestry and Land Reclamation has this time not been allocated any budget.
The Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing has been working tirelessly to launch and improve micro and medium enterprises in the country throughout the past financial year. However their budget has been cut from M112.0 million to M88.5 million. The Ministry is further tasked with establishing market centres in Tsikoane, Leribe, Tikoe, Maseru and Mohale’s Hoek. The Ministry will also facilitate the construction of two slaughter houses to enable safe handling of meat and access to larger markets.