‘Sound budget key to enacting reforms’

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Bereng Mpaki

THE successful implementation of the envisaged multi-sectoral reforms and the resultant economic and socio-political development are dependent upon a well thought-out budget, says Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki.

The deputy premier said this yesterday during a cabinet retreat in Maseru co-organised by the ministries of Finance and of Development Planning.

The two-day event is meant to come up with priorities that will inform the second five-year National Strategic Development Plan covering years 2017 to 2022.

It was also meant to identify and approve the priority areas for the 2018/2019 National Budget.

“The national budget is a policy tool which, if properly developed and implemented, could rescue Lesotho from challenges such as lawlessness, conflict, political instability, economic stagnation, environmental degradation, and general democracy,” Mr Moleleki said.

Lesotho will hold a National Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on 16 and 17 November 2017 as the country embarks on reforming the judiciary, constitutional, security, legislature, public service and media sectors.

Mr Moleleki said the reforms process was likely to take one to three years to ensure they are comprehensive.

“I also strongly believe that a well thought-out plan and prepared budget will facilitate the much-needed constitutional, political, security and administrative reforms to take this country to higher levels of development,” he said.

Furthermore, Mr Moleleki indicated that successful reforms would lead to a sustainable transformation of the economy “through a deliberate plan to develop and grow the private sector and to focus on confidence building measures for increased employment opportunities and poverty reduction.”

“Achievement of these objectives will restore trust and confidence of the nation, international partners and investors in the government. It will result in an effective government that delivers on promises. It is therefore critical for us to ensure that we plan together so that our ministerial plans are aligned to the budget strategy that we will develop today,” he said.

Touching on the national priorities, Mr Moleleki said the coalition agreement signed by the four parties forming government had noted that Lesotho was characterised by political instability, weak institutions and polarization of society along political lines.

“In the absence of strong institutions and public priority policies, hunger, inequality, ignorance, and ill health have persisted and have left many Basotho vulnerable to daily challenges of life.

“As we deliberate on our plans and future investments, let us demonstrate commitment and ensure that we take control of our destiny as a united and prosperous nation at peace with itself and its neighbours.”

He urged the attendants, who included cabinet ministers and principal secretaries, to work collectively to assume a comprehensive approach to development programmes and systems in order to help government avoid fragmentation and waste of resources.

“Our dialogue today and tomorrow will further guide and consolidate our priorities and strategic factors for growth and job creation starting in the financial year 2018/19 through the next five years of the NSPD.

“I also hope that this forum will enable us to think and plan together as well as to improve our understanding of Lesotho’s medium-term expenditure planning and budgeting and the related procurement processes and procedures.

“I must highlight to you honourable ministers, PSs, civil servants that since 2015/2016 the government of Lesotho has embarked on a public finance management reform agenda.

He continued: “The reform aimed to improve on efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability in the use of public funds, which have been and are still a challenge to a large extend in this country.

“I would like to encourage you to commit to continue to support the implementation of this noble endeavour which I believe will improve and fast-track progress, realizable and enhanced impact on development and service delivery for every man, women especially youth in Lesotho.”

 

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