‘Govt must pay in­ter­est for pay­ment de­lays’

Lesotho Times - - News - Mot­samai Mokotjo

A PAR­LIA­MEN­TARY com­mit­tee has slated gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and agen­cies for fail­ing to pay sup­pli­ers timeously and called for the charg­ing of in­ter­est against de­fault­ers.

The sug­ges­tion for pri­vate sec­tor sup­pli­ers to levy in­ter­est for de­layed pay­ments was made dur­ing a port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on Law and Public Safety held on Tues­day in Maseru. The meet­ing was meant to probe the causes for the de­lays in pay­ing pri­vate com­pa­nies for ser­vices ren­dered.

Among those in at­ten­dance were of­fi­cials from the Home Af­fairs, Law and Con­sti­tu­tional Af­fairs and Po­lice min­istries, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC) as well as Di­rec­torate on Cor­rup­tion and Eco­nomic Of­fences (DCEO).

The of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives had been sum­moned to out­line the rea­sons for their fail­ure to pay ser­vice providers on time. Ac- cord­ing to doc­u­ments pre­sented by the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee, the three min­istries and two agen­cies in at­ten­dance owed sup­pli­ers over M4 mil­lion in the first quar­ter of the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year up to June 2015.

In their pre­sen­ta­tions, the of­fi­cials blamed their sup­pli­ers for sub­mit­ting their in­voices late and fail­ing to pro­vide req­ui­site doc­u­men­ta­tion such as tax clear­ance cer­tifi­cates. They also raised the is­sue of lim­ited ca­pac­i­ties of their de­part­ments’ ac­count­ing and pro­cure­ment of­fices.

Min­istry of Po­lice, Act­ing Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary (PS), ‘Ma­joele Hla­soa, said: “It is un­for­tu­nate that ser­vice providers sub­mit their in­voices late. For ex­am­ple, one of them said they did not have toner to print the in­voices.

“They should be taught to be timely. If a tax clear­ance cer­tifi­cate will ex­pire be­fore the job is fin­ished, we ad­vise them to re­new it ear­lier to avoid un­nec­es­sary prob­lems.”

Ac­cord­ing to the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee re­port, the Min­istry of Po­lice owed sup­pli­ers M1.2 mil­lion.

Law and Con­sti­tu­tional Af­fairs min­istry Di­rec­tor of Hu­man Re­sources, Makhala Takali­mane, said they had re­sorted to pay­ing their sup­pli­ers in in­stal­ments. The re­port had re­vealed that the min­istry owed sup­pli­ers M136 000.

“We have a list of long-term sup­pli­ers, and be­fore the 2014-2015 fi­nan­cial year ended, we held a meet­ing with some of them to dis­cuss the modal­i­ties of pay­ing them,” Ms Takali­mane said.

“We have al­ready started pay­ing them in in­stal­ments, and will soon rec­on­cile the re­port.”

The port­fo­lio com­mit­tee’s chair­per­son, Li­neo Molise-mabusela, said the de­part­ments and agen­cies were do­ing the sup­pli­ers a dis­ser­vice by not hon­our­ing their end of the deal.

“They should ac­tu­ally be charg­ing you in­ter­est. It doesn’t sit well with us,” Ms MoliseMabusela said.

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