Fresh impetus to Public Finance Management Reform

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vincent maleboBy ’Mathabana Kotelo

MASERU — The Development Planning Minister Moeketsi Majoro said there has been slackness in the implementation of the previous public finance management (PFM) reform plan.

Addressing a high-level workshop in Maseru on Monday to discuss plans to implement the reform action plan, Majoro said accountability, recording and reporting have been extremely poor on PFM reform.

The relaunched PFM reform plan is aimed at improving public finance management, addressing the challenges highlighted in the 2011 Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment and improving service delivery.

The challenges include weaknesses in credibility of budget, particularly the capacity for ministries to stick to budget, backlog in financial statements and late presentation of audit reports to Parliament.

He cautioned Finance Minister Leketekete Ketso that there would be resistance to change in implementing the project.

“Look out for vested interests; there will be those who are resistant to change and also equally dangerous, are those who are reluctant to be corrected when they make mistakes,” said Majoro.

He said his ministry would work closely with the finance ministry on budgeting and planning.

Speaking at the event, Finance Minister Leketekete Ketso said there was need to learn from the previous failed reform attempt adding that his ministry’s role was to provide sufficient conditions for implementation of the reform to go ahead.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative Michael Tharkur said the IMF was happy to be part of a “very important initiative”.

Tharkur however, cautioned that the volatility of Sacu revenues has the potential to affect the smooth running of the PFM reform.

“In the face of volatile Sacu revenues, adequate liquidity and cash management systems are necessary for the success of the reform plan”.

He said IMF would also provide technical assistance by facilitating cash management training and advisory personnel for the reform adding that he hoped a new IMF programme would commence next year to help Lesotho achieve PFM reform and other reforms.

The general consensus from the development partners was donors are prepared to assist accordingly as long as government leads and pulls from the front for PFM reforms to succeed.

At the same event, chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee Vincent Malebo said there was need for a major attitude change in the civil service for the PFM reform implementation to run smoothly.

“There is a tendency for civil servants to rush to leave at knock-off time without caring whether the day’s tasks have been completed and that needs to change,” Malebo said.

The public finance management reform action plan was developed by the government of Lesotho in collaboration with the European Union, World Bank, the African Development Bank and the IMF as development partners.

 

 

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