All set for bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

FI­NANCE Min­is­ter ’ Mam­phono Khaketla will to­mor­row present the 2016/17 fis­cal year bud­get in the Na­tional As­sem­bly amid calls for the govern­ment to in­sti­tute re­forms to tackle of a myr­iad of eco­nomic chal­lenges.

Dr Khaketla’s bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion comes at a time when the econ­omy con­tin­ues to face se­ri­ous macro-eco­nomic chal­lenges re­lated to the slow­down in the South African econ­omy and re­duc­tion of South­ern African Cus­toms Union rev­enue.

Econ­o­mist and Pri­vate Sec­tor Com­pet­i­tive­ness and Eco­nomic Di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion Pro­ject Man­ager Chaba Mokuku called on the govern­ment to ef­fect struc­tural re­forms to cope with the chal­lenges.

“The slow­down in South Africa and de­cline in SACU rev­enues are a clar­ion call for the govern­ment of Le­sotho to put in place struc­tural re­forms that en­sure the econ­omy weath­ers the cur­rent storms,” he said.

“The civil ser­vice wage bill needs to be cut, and this would mean that many jobs would be lost. Re­sul­tantly, the pri­vate sec­tor needs to be de­vel­oped so it can ab­sorb the un­em­ployed.”

Mean­while, All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Sa­monyane Nt­sekele urged the govern­ment to spur pri­vate sec­tor growth to re­dress the high un­em­ploy­ment rate.

“The govern­ment should come up with ini­tia­tives to grow the pri­vate sec­tor be­cause it can­not af­ford to hire ev­ery­one and ad­dress the is­sue of un­em­ploy­ment,” he said

“We are also hop­ing that the al­lo­ca­tion for the education sec­tor will im­prove to en­sure no child is de­nied an education.

“The govern­ment also needs to pri­ori­tise com­bat­ing food in­se­cu­rity which has been wors­ened by the pre­vail­ing drought con­di­tions.”

Mr Nt­sekele added that the op­po­si­tion par­ties’ pres­ence or ab­sence dur­ing the bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion would not hin­der the par­lia­men­tary process.

“Whether we will be there in the Na­tional As­sem­bly or not, the seven party coali­tion will pro­ceed any­way be­cause there is no rule of law and good gov­er­nance in Le­sotho.”

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