BNP petitions PM to open parliament
the Basotho national Party (BNP) youth league has petitioned Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili to speedily open parliament to facilitate the passing of the national budget.
In a letter delivered to the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday, BNP Youth league Chairman tšeliso Lesenya said the coalition govern- ment of seven political parties led by Dr Mosisili should prioritise the opening of parliament to pass the national budget and ensure government programmes and the delivery of public services resume.
the petition was also addressed to the Speaker of the national assembly ntlhoi Motsamai, and copied to BNP leader thesele ‘Maseribane, former Prime Minister thomas thabane, the auditor- general, accountant-general and the Southern african Development Community observer Mission.
“We, the youth league of the Basotho national Party (BNP), have observed with great concern that the financial year of his Majesty’s government begins on the 1st of april 2015,” read the petition, which also called for the speedy appointment of government ministers.
“This is the financial year of 2015/2016. We are also aware that the budget for the said financial year has not been passed and discussed in the august house of representatives of this Kingdom.”
according to Mr Lesenya, the budget is instrumental in service delivery to the nation and enables the payment of civil servants’ salaries.
“We are also cognisant of the fact that as yet there is no Minister of Finance to deliberate on the budget.
We urge you to deliberate on the opening of parliament for the budget of this nation to be tabled and discussed in parliament before the beginning of the financial year,” the petition added.contacted for comment, Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka said it was now clear that by 1 april, 2015 there would not be a parliament-approved budget, hence the need for government to use a third of the national budget, in line with the preceding financial year’s allocations, for a period not exceeding four months according to the constitution.
Section 113 of the constitutiton states that: “Parliament may make provision under which, if it appears to the Minister for the time being responsible for finance that the appropriation act for any financial year will not come into operation by the beginning of that financial year, he may authorise the withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund of moneys for the purpose of meeting expenditure nec- essary to carry on the government of Lesotho in respect of the period commencing with the beginning of that financial year and expiring four months thereafter or on the coming into operation of the act, whichever is the earlier.”
“. . . money so authorised to be withdrawn in advance of the appropriation Act for any financial year shall not exceed in total onethird of the sums included in the estimates of expenditure for the proceeding financial year that have been laid before the assembly.
“and that no sums shall be so authorised to be withdrawn to meet expenditure on any head of expenditure in that financial year if no sums had been voted to meet expenditure on that head of expenditure in respect of the preceding financial year”.
Mr Mphaka said the failure to present the budget before parliament was not a crisis situation since it did not delay any government business.
“I believe by Friday we would have ministers inaugurated and the Minister of Finance would then assume his role of facilitating the process allowing the utilisation of one third of the past financial year’s budget,” he said.
BNP Youth league Chairman Tšeliso Lesenya