Aids commission broke

MASERU — The National Aids Commission (NAC) is rationalising operations because it is broke.

The NAC secretariat will be disbanded at the end of this year.

NAC board chairman, ’Molotsi Monyamane, told the Lesotho Times this week that the board had decided to not to renew “all fixed term contracts that have not terminated by December 31, 2011”.

He said the board had agreed to cut the number of staff at the secretariat and reduce salaries for those that will be hired.

“Salaries will be aligned with those of civil servants. Their contracts will be permanent and pensionable,” Monyamane said.

The new salaries will be effective starting January next year.

The decision to rationalise operations comes in the wake of reports last month that the current secretariat will be dissolved at the end of December this year.

The NAC said in a press statement last month that it was facing a serious financial crisis that had seen it fail to pay its bills.

A South African consultancy firm, Delloite noted in a report last November that as a parastatal the NAC was not generating any revenue.

“As a result it is difficult to justify the secretariat’s occupation of separate office space and associated overheads,” said the report.

It noted that the current government funding could no longer sustain the current organisational structure, employee remuneration and benefits.

The NAC relies on government funding but this has been significantly reduced over the last couple of years.

Monyamane said the NAC’s financial woes had been compounded by its failure to raise its own funds.

“This proved to be a problem when the Prime Minister’s office failed to draw a budget for the commission during the current financial year due to financial constraints,” he said.

Monyamane said the NAC was supposed to raise its own funds on top of the money they get from government.

“The Prime Minister’s office could not budget for the NAC in this financial year. They should have then resorted to the funds that they were to raise for themselves.

“But they only produced money that could have been left from the previous budgets,” he said.

The commission needs about M1.2 million every month for salaries, rentals for their offices and vehicle maintenance.

“The government can no longer afford to fund the NAC. Salaries are much higher than profit-making private organisations. Yet the secretariat did not live up to the government’s expectations,” Monyamane said.

He said the huge salary gap had triggered complaints from civil servants who were doing the same work as the secretariat employees.

“Some civil servants were complaining that NAC employees were receiving triple their salaries yet they were doing the same work.”

Monyamane said the NAC board will appoint a new chief executive officer to head the new downsized secretariat.

The secretariat’s mandate will also be redefined.

“The secretariat will better and smaller. The role of NAC will be redefined,” he said.

He added that the ministry of local government had taken over the role of coordinating the HIV/Aids programmes in the country.

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