Government to improve service

BONGIWE ZIHLANGU

MASERU – Basotho may soon see a dramatic I mprovement in service delivery, an end to impunity and fiscal indiscipline as the Tom Thabane administration moves to ratchet up its operations and introduce clean government, Public Eye can reveal. The four-party coalition government believes it can only succeed in implementing its pre-election promises geared towards raising the standard of living for most Basotho mired in poverty since independence 50 years ago, through an elaborate plan predicated on sound management and administration. This, the government says, would form a fi rm platform on which to tackle endemic poverty and stabilise state arms that have been weakened by years of inter-party squabbling that has collapsed successive administrations in the past five years.

A government blueprint cobbled together to outline government’s developmental vision and focus implementation over the next five years, notes it is crucial to promote and respect basic freedoms, respect for rule of law, and halt “autocratic, idiosyncratic and unpredictable political leadership” to end backwardness. The blueprint titled: Office of the Prime Minister Public Sector Improvement Reform Programme, is a bid to rally support for the almost forgotten Public Service Improvement and Reform Programme (PSIRP) hatched in 2003/04.

“The Government of Lesotho (GoL) recognises that good public management and administration with emphasis on accountability and responsiveness to customer needs is a requirement for Lesotho’s achievement of the National Strategic Development Plan (NDSP). “The GoL appreciates that good governance cannot be achieved without efficient and effective public administration and management systems. Equally, public administration and management systems may be ineffective and inefficient in an environment of poor governance characterised by unstable government, lack of basic freedoms, lack of respect for rule of law, and autocratic,idiosyncratic and unpredictable political leadership,” the blueprint, that Public Eye has in its possession, notes.

Lesotho has remained mired in the economic doldrums for decades due, in part, to fragmented policies and chopping and changing of governments following constitutional upheavals. Despite falling in the lowermiddle- income economic bracket with a per capita GNI of US$1,350 (about M15 000), Lesotho has endured two costly snap polls since 2012, first; called by Thabane and last election organised under two-time premier Pakalitha Mosisili. Development experts have argued that the country - one of the poorest in Southern Africa, and with one of the highest income inequalities in the world– cannot afford unbudgeted for elections although these were an indicator of a growing democratic order.

In his 2017/18 budget, Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro bemoaned the fi ssures in government, adding these stultifi ed efforts to roll back destitution, “political instability, politicisation of the public service, and weak institutions are the hallmarks of a state of failure.” Majoro further noted in 2016/17 government gobbled up to M682 million, “to cover fleet service costs related to Bidvest Bank, Compact I maintenance funds to the Lesotho Millennium Development Authority (LMDA), construction of the Royal Palace, the 2017 snap elections, shortfall on teachers’ salaries, and an unplanned beef production project.” “These were funded by government raiding the NMDS Trust Fund to the tune of M450 million and bond proceeds issued for monetary purposes.

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