Parliamentary committee slams ministries

Parliamentary committee slams ministries

MASERU- THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee is furious over government ministries that did not use funds that were allocated for capital projects. Not a single ministry utilised its entire capital budget allocated to them in the last financial year. The chairman of the committee, Samuel Rapapa, said the expenditure in most ministries was far less than the allocated budget. The Public Service Ministry was allocated M3 million that was never used at all.

The ministry was going to build a complex for the Lesotho Institute of Public Administration and Management (LIPAM), a civil servants’ school, but it did not. The Ministry of Small Business was allocated M112 million but only used 16 percent of the budget. The Ministry of Mining used just 7.7 percent of its capital budget. It was allocated M8.2 million but only used M480 285. The remaining amount was returned to the government coffers.
The Ministry of Defence was allocated M56.8 million but only used M4.8 million, which translates to only 10.05 percent of the capital budget.
The budget for this ministry comes solely from the government.

The poor performance is largely due to the National Security Service headquarters’ 2.3 percent performance. The Ministry of Public Works was allocated M1 billion and only 56 percent of it was used. Projects such as Maseru Container Terminal, Moshoeshoe 1 International Airport improvement and cross border stop have been in the budget for ages but never taken off.

The Maseru Container Terminal project had been allocated M2 million and has not used the allocated funds. Maputsoe cross border stop project was allocated M5 million and never used it. The Ministry of Development Planning performance was poor as reflected by the commitments and expenditures amounting to 14 percent. The population dynamics project budget has been deferred by the donor to the 2018/19 fiscal year due to the unavailability of a population policy consultant.

Also, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has not declared some of its expenditure yet, parliament heard this week. The population and housing census budget allocation stood at M6.9 million with only M448 118 being spent. The Trade Ministry had a total budget of M129.7 million but only used 31 percent of the money.

The Ministry of Agriculture was allocated M211.9 million for the fiscal year 2017/18 of which 43 percent has been spent.
Parliament heard that the overall performance of the ministry is not satisfactory as all projects performed poorly.
The Intensive Crop Production was at only 28 percent while the Wool and Mohair Promotion Project was at 17 percent.

The committee found that the Piggery Value Chain Project’s performance was at 13 percent.
Low spending is mainly due to prolonged procurement processes, the report says.

Majara Molupe

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