Mochoboroane promises fireworks

Mochoboroane promises fireworks

MASERU-THE newly appointed Development Planning Minister Selibe Mochoboroane is promising a major revamp of the ministry to ensure that it meets the development needs of the country.

In an interview with thepost, Mochoboroane said it will no longer be business as usual as the ministry seeks to respond to the country’s pressing problems such as fighting the coronavirus.

“We are in the middle of the coronavirus crisis and we need to revive our economy through whatever the country can produce. For us to work in a proper way, we need to have information that will enable us to produce certain highly demanded products in the country.”
“In the Department of Statistics we are going to do agricultural census so that we have detailed information that will enable our strategic planning processes,” Mochoboroane, who the leader of the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), said.

Mochoboroane said, for example, it will be difficult to know the number of poultry farms or grains and other essentials needed in the country without reliable information.
“There is no way one can come up with an economic revival strategy while ignoring investments in agriculture. This is why we need to do the agricultural sector census,” he said.
Results of the 2016 census also need a relook “so that they work based on the correct numbers”.

“We want to know the reliability of the numbers so that we can be able to work,” he said.
Mochoboroane said he has requested a specific budget for the two departments of project cycle management and monitoring and evaluation to enable him to execute his duties effectively.
“We want to monitor projects and programmes of the government,” he said, adding that the government’s “biggest challenge is the implementation strategy”.

He said from 2010 to 2019, government ministries and departments could not use their capital budgets to the full because of lack of project implementation strategies.
“Their capacities were very low. We fail to use the small amount of money we are given. For the past 10 years, the government has never used 80 percent of the capital budget. The only time when we were able to utilise the capital budget up to 75 percent was in 2016- 2017 when I was the Minister of Energy,” he said.

“We have a bad history in this country on our projects.”
Mochoboroane said there are 156 projects that are still in progress and some of them have not been completed despite “a lot of money” being spent.
These include the construction of the Royal Palace, whose building started over 10 years ago.
He pledged to increase vigilance and monitoring by doing field visits rather than depending on reports filed at his desk.
He said the Department of Planning will also be revived as well as ensure that the National Planning Board, which is a constitutional requirement, is established.

“Our plan is that we should meet all planning departments in all ministries on a monthly basis while I will give quarterly reports to the government to know how we work,” he said.
He said he is going to make use of the policy and strategic planning which the government developed under Vision 2020.
“We are reaching the end of Vision 2020 which I and most of Basotho believe that it has not been fulfilled.”
The National Planning Board, he said, will review Vision 2020 and the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) for the past 10 years “to learn how and where we went wrong”.

“There are priority areas which include agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and technology and innovation that will create jobs. With the M78 million budget which we already have, we are going to enhance sustainable economic growth in the private sector to create jobs. We are going to untie the knots that the government had when investors wanted to invest in this country,” he said.
Infrastructure development is another critical area, he said, noting that “a lot” of investors who wish to invest in the country were being dissuaded by poor infrastructure, unavailability of electricity or water, so as the ministry with the budget they are going to assist investors in those kinds of needs where necessary.

“Many jobs, 9 000 jobs would be created by 2023 if we go with this strategy,” he said, highlighting the urgent need for a database of people who lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic and how the government can assist them.
“One of our strategies is to do a Covid-19 impact assessment which will help us know how it has affected us,” he said.
Mochoboroane has asked parliament to allocate him M1.8 billion.
He said M900 000 of this money would go towards supporting Basotho students in tertiary schools in and outside the country.
“We are going to overhaul the NMDS (National Manpower Development Secretariat) as an institution. There is no policy. We are going to form a policy to assist there,” he said, describing himself as a man on a mission.

Staff Reporter

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