Water PS grilled

Water PS grilled

MASERU – Ministry of Water Affairs Principal Secretary, Emmanuel Lesoma, was yesterday grilled by Parliament’s Natural Resources Cluster over how much he had collected in the first quarter of the current financial year.
The first quarter starts in April when the government’s financial year begins and ends in June.

Lesoma, who is the chief accounting officer for the ministry, however gave a spirited defence of his ministry.
He told the MPs that the Ministry of Finance introduced the new Integrated Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS) replacing the old financial system.

“This new IFMIS created problems because payments are not able to be captured easily through it,” Lesoma said.
“It is true that people were trained on this new IFMIS but I figure that the one it replaced was much better,” he said, while explaining why he had failed to collect more revenue.

Lesoma denied that he had collected less than expected, giving a detailed account of how much he collected.
“Generally, we have collected more than we had expected,” he said.
He said in some sections he collected less than anticipated but “all in all we performed well”.

He said they had expected that people would buy borehole permits but they did not come in big numbers as they expected.
“We anticipated that we would collect M9 450 but as a result of people not coming to buy the permits in expected numbers we collected only M5 110,” Lesoma said.

He said for bottling water, they expected the permits to generate M525 but he collected M2 640.
He also said he expected Basotho to come in big numbers to buy underground water maps. He anticipated they would collect M2 717 but he collected only M1 760.

He said for drilling boreholes, he had aimed to collect M175 000 but he raised only M25 075 “because our truck broke down”.
“For the same reason that the truck got broken we could not collect the M18 000 in pumping charges. We collected zero,” he said.
He said the expertise fees was M10 925 when they expected M11 250.
He said they anticipated to raise M82 687 in tender fees but ended up collecting only M49 200 “because there was no much tendering in that quarter”.

He said the registration of contractors would generate M68 950 but he collected only M33 900 “because we had to tighten the registration requirements after some contractors we had registered underperformed and others left their jobs in halves”.
“We tightened registration,” he said.

Lesoma said he aimed to collect over M224.4 million in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) royalties but he made over M233.7 million.
“We transferred 780 million cubic litres of water to South Africa between April and June,” he said.
He said other revenue comes from rentals.

The Lesotho Bank Tower, which the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) bought from Standard Lesotho Bank generated M652 820 in rentals from April to June.
He had however anticipated raising M970 361 from the building.
The same bank is hiring the building.

Lesoma promised Parliament that the ministry will start collecting rentals from other properties with immediate effect.
He said at the Mohale Village, Katse Dam and ’Muela Hydro Project all lodges using their facilities will start paying monthly rentals.
“In the beginning, it was agreed that the lodge owners would not pay rent but would keep the areas clean but they have failed to do so,” he said.
“So, they will from now pay. We are yet to sit down and agree how much they will pay.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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