Econ­omy’s fate hinges on political de­ci­sions

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

AS re­ported in this edi­tion, Le­sotho has paid a hefty price for the de­lay in the al­lo­ca­tion of the na­tional bud­get for the 2015/2016 fi­nan­cial year, with eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity de­clin­ing by 10.2 per­cent in the se­cond quar­ter of 2015.

Over the years, the na­tional bud­get has been pre­sented in Fe­bru­ary. How­ever, Fi­nance Min­is­ter ’Mam­phono Khaketla only pre­sented her bud­get pro­pos­als be­fore the 9th Par­lia­ment on 22 May 2015, re­sult­ing in a marked de­lay in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the govern­ment’s cap­i­tal projects.

Ad­mit­tedly, the de­lay in the bud­get al­lo­ca­tion process was partly a re­sult of the snap 28 Fe­bru­ary gen­eral elec­tions fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the pre­vi­ous coali­tion.

While it was un­der­stand­able that the coali­tion needed time to get to reac­quaint them­selves with govern­ment op­er­a­tions, the sit­u­a­tion de­manded that they hit the ground run­ning to pre­vent a vir­tual stand­still in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of cap­i­tal projects.

Ul­ti­mately, the wheels of the state should con­tinue to turn no mat­ter who is in charge. The coun­try needs to have apo­lit­i­cal bu­reau­crats seam­lessly steer­ing the ship of state as politi­cians han­dover and takeover power. Given Le­sotho’s propen­sity to abruptly change gov­ern­ments, the econ­omy can­not be held at ran­som by elec­tions or the tran­si­tion of power.

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