Majoro’s sharp knife

Majoro’s sharp knife

MASERU – FINANCE Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro says the government’s books are not balancing.
Dr Majoro told Parliament during his budget speech on Tuesday that there was an urgent need to “regulate spending and to close loopholes”.
“These include tightening previous measures and introducing additional ones.”
He said the “fattest part of the budget is wages and salaries and that further cuts in other areas will soon be counterproductive.”

The minister said the 47 000 government employees were getting half of the national budget in wages and salaries. The wage bill was too high for a country of only two million people and was larger than the individual contributions of many sectors of the economy like mining, construction and agriculture.
To control the wage bill the minister said civil servants will not get a salary increase this year.
That the wage bill is galloping at a time when revenues from SACU and other taxes are plunging make the government’s financial situation more precarious, the minister said.
He said the solution is to trim some flesh and look for new sources of revenue.
He proposed that to save money on international travel Prime Minister Thomas Thabane will form a special committee to authorise all foreign trips for ministers.

Ministers will attend only representational meetings and avoid conferences, workshops and consultative meetings, he said.
Ministers will also cut their delegations “to the bone” and limit the number of days they spend outside to five.
He said the ministers will also have to control international travel from their ministries and promptly submit reports on how much they spent on foreign trips.

  • Eliminate all supplemental subsistence allowances including quarter rates
  • Except for His Majesty, Members of Parliament and Statutory Officers, all public servants will travel economy class
  • The government to acquire one travel agent to provide, for a fee, all its flight booking services
  • Reduce government phone expenses by lowering existing allowances, cutting all spending limits and negotiating better deals with telecom companies and enable an internal (free) telephone network for all government offices including abroad
  • A cap of M5 000 per month to be to be applied to all ministers
  • Freeze all government hiring
  • Reduce government fleet costs by parking all government vehicles outside office hours and introducing a permit system managed by the Government Secretary and deploying police to impound vehicles that do not have permits.
  • Eliminate all international training except that which is fully funded. The PSs and Ministers to enforce this requirement. The government will not pay any additional amount when international training is fully funded
  • Reduce the incentive to travel by adopting the lower UN rates and amend the Annex B of the Ministry of Public Service Circular Notice Number 8 of 2009 to reduce Per Diem rates
  • Reduce the cost of foreign missions by reducing the number of missions and reviewing the formula for calculating salaries.
  • Reform the method of appointing diplomats, especially those responsible for financial matters.
  • Reduce the cost of accessing districts.
  • Coordinate all trips to the districts through a central coordination system
  • Instruct LRA to collect non-tax revenues;
  • Reduce ministerial gross salary by 5 percent;
  • Eliminate the interest benefits on MPs loans and the possibility of write-off of the loans following a mid-term election
  • Eliminate the procurement of refreshments and official entertainment
  • Set price limits in IFMIS to curtail the overcharging of government

Staff Reporter

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