Ministers will no longer fly first class

Ministers will no longer fly first class

MASERU – FINANCE Minister Moeketsi Majoro has tightened the lid on unnecessary expenditure by ministers and other senior government
officials.

Majoro told MPs during the budget speech yesterday that as part of reducing expenditure “ministers and equivalent ranks will no
longer fly first class”. “The requisite amendment will be made to legislation concerning benefits of Members of Parliament,” Majoro said. “Ministers will no longer travel for more than seven days without the express permission of the Prime Minister based on elaborate
justification,” he said.

Majoro also said ministers should “reduce their delegations to international meetings to exactly the limited number needed for the
minister to perform effectively”. Turning to the ministers’ use of their official cars, Majoro said when it is time to replace their vehicles, ministers’ utility cars “will no longer be replaced with the Toyota Landcruiser, instead a lower specification and cheaper vehicle will be purchased”.

Extravagance during official trips will also come to an abrupt halt. Majoro said for procurement of accommodation, hotel catering, international travel, and other common supplies, the government will enter into framework contracts with potential suppliers “at lower negotiated prices”.

“In return, government will improve its payment record with principal secretaries being surcharged for each late payment,” he
said.

“As a way to remove conflict of interest, government will establish an independent measures that will guide our budget process for 2018/19 and the return to fiscal sustainability”. “I therefore call on all my colleagues in cabinet and public servants as a whole to join hands and turn these commitments into reality.”

mechanism for reviewing salaries and benefits for political posts,” he said. He also said the government will establish
a mechanism to review remuneration in state owned enterprises to ensure equity and
fairness in the public sector. “This review will also extend to salaries for staff in foreign missions,” he said. He said the June 2017 circular on telecommunication entitlements “is extravagant”.

“The Government Secretary, working with the Ministries of Communications and of Finance, will review the circular and introduce
caps on call entitlements.” Meanwhile, to lower the cost of voice calls and roaming, government officials should use free and secure services such as Skype, WhatsApp audio, FaceTime and other VoIP services. “Data roaming should normally be turned off and used sparely where critically needed,”
he said.

“The Ministry of Communications will provide the requisite training for senior officials.” He directed ministries, departments and agencies including state-owned-enterprises to undertake exercises to deliver public services cost-effectively. “The budget I have just presented assumes a number of actions that the government would necessarily have to take to control expenditure and intensify revenue collection in
the medium-term,” Majoro said.

“Most importantly and given the difficulty in stimulating the economy in the short-term and therefore mobilise revenue rapidly, it will be left to government to implement policies that seek to contain expenditure both in the short and the medium term,” he said.

“We have in the past enjoyed growing revenue, especially SACU shares, and in the process entertained spending that would not assist us in growing the economy. It is now opportune for the government to consider options for curbing expenditure and ensuring reserves build-up in anticipation of difficult times ahead.”

He said during the coming year, government will explore “revenue and expenditure

’Makhotso Rakotsoane

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