Budget divorced from NSDP II: NUL lecturer

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Bereng Mpaki

NATIONAL University of Lesotho economics lecturer, Ratjomose Machema, says a large part of the 2020/2021 budget allocations are not aligned to the country’s National Development Strategic Development Plan 2018 – 2023 (NSDP II).

Dr Machema said this last night during a dinner organised by the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) and Nedbank Lesotho to analyse the 2020/2021 budget speech.

Among the guests at the dinner were Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro, other cabinet ministers and captains of industry.

Dr Machema said without an alignment between the budget and the NSDP, it would be difficult to achieve the country’s priorities.

“Having looked at the budget estimates for the 2020/2021 financial year, while there are parts that align to the NSDP, a large part of it is not aligned to the NSDP and if we could do that, we would be able to achieve more national priorities,” Dr Machema said.

He added that the budget fell short on addressing the high unemployment rate which is hovering over 30 percent.

“I expected more on how the government plans to address unemployment but I got very little from the budget speech.”

He said a good budget should try to bridge the inequality gaps that are existing within the society.

“My other critical concern on the key issues that are affecting Lesotho is the inequality between the rich and the poor. Lesotho operates under very unequal circumstances. When you look at the inherent inequalities, you will want to hear how the budget would address them, on how other sectors of the population are going to be attended to. I expected the budget to reflect that but again, I did not get much.

For his part, Nedbank Lesotho managing director Nkau Matete said the bank sponsors budget deliberations to unpack the technical content into simple information that can be understood by the ordinary Mosotho being the good corporate citizens that they are.

“Every year, people look forward to the budget speech because they believe that it is going to change their lives, so we host this dinner will make the budget more understandable to the ordinary people.”

He added that it was imperative to spread positive messages about the country.

LRA Commissioner General Thabo Khasipe was also on hand to thank all the guests for gracing the occasion and expressing gratitude for the good attendance it garnered.

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