Time to deliver

Time to deliver

WE are thrilled by the budget presented by Finance Minister Dr Moketsi Majoro to parliament yesterday.
Dr Majoro appears to have made the right noises about what needs to be done to rescue Lesotho from an economic abyss.
Key among the issues he highlighted was the need to restore political stability and push for respect for the rule of law.
As we have argued in previous editorials political stability is the cornerstone of economic growth and development. Without stability everything we do will be doomed.
“Good governance, rule of law and the fight against corruption are the cornerstones of any progressive society,” he said.
We agree.
Dr Majoro appears to be a sincere man. He seems driven and passionate in his push to bring real transformation in the lives of his people.
It is our hope that his appeal to his colleagues in government not to involve themselves in lucrative government tenders will be heeded.
Lesotho needs men of such sincerity to drive government programmes and stem corruption.
Dr Majoro’s budget speech was devoid of economic jargon and was therefore accessible to the layman. It was a message we believe will find resonance even among Lesotho’s poor.
We also hope that the political leadership across the divide will bury their differences and work together in pushing what is good for Lesotho. This is no time for politicians to seek to score cheap points.
The lives of people are at stake.
While Dr Majoro made the right noises in his speech, the test of the pudding will of course be in the eating.
Will the coalition government muster the political will to deliver? Take for instance his call for Lesotho to produce more and export more. We look forward to seeing what will be done to boost production. We cannot continue to be country that relies entirely on imports.
Dr Majoro also spoke of the government’s plans to “relaunch dialogue with the private sector in a collaborative effort to accelerate investment, economic growth and job creation”.
We look forward to such collaboration. The majority of unemployed youths who voted in the last election in June are expecting this government to deliver on its promise to provide jobs and fight poverty.
A stronger private sector, with particular focus on SMEs, can help create more jobs for Basotho. More companies will translate to more revenue streams for the Lesotho Revenue Authority and better services for Basotho.
We are also excited by the government’s proposals to stamp out corruption, particularly the move to “prevent public servants from tendering for government contracts”.
Corruption, particularly with regard to government tenders, is enriching a small clique of well-connected individuals while the majority suffer. We expect to see concrete measures being implemented to root out this malady.
Perhaps Dr Majoro’s biggest surprise announcement was in relation to the tightening of the purse for government ministers.
His decision to ban ministers from travelling first class and reduce the number of individuals in their entourages must be commended.
Ministers have also been stopped from travelling for more than seven days without authorisation from the Prime Minister.
We think all these measure will go a long way in stabilising Lesotho’s economy while placing it on a firm footing for further growth.

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