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Business Community Speaks On Budget

by Lesotho Times
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Bereng Mpaki

Metropolitan Managing Director Nkau Matete

Nkau Matete – Managing Director Metropolitan.

This budget was never going to be easy. The minister as an economist-turned-politician had to balance sound economic fundamentals and political popular appeal. My view is that sound economic discipline won the day and that is what our country needs. He mentioned the decreasing reserves which helps Lesotho to be part of the (South African) Rand parity arrangement. He needs to be supported by all of us to achieve economic stability and to get the reserves back to healthy levels.

I also noted the commitment to boost domestic revenue sources. This for me is imperative. We have learned since the days of former finance ministers Dr Ketso and Dr Thahane that SACU revenues are declining. Very little has been done to boost domestic revenue sources. I have faith in the minister because he is one of the few who during his tenure as Development Planning Minister, held regular meetings with business chief executives to explore areas of collaboration. Sadly his tenure was short-lived. In this budget he makes a commitment to set up a committee to look into lending to business start-ups. I believe this initiative to engage business will go a long way in unlocking potential.

My concern has been that in the past government lacked appetite to raise revenues from domestic sources. Domestic funding can be sourced through the channels like long term insurance products. The pledge to raise M480 million through bonds is a positive move, but I wish it was more.

PostBank Lesotho’s Managing Director Molefi Leqhaoe

Molefi Leqhaoe- Managing Director Lesotho Postbank

This year’s budget is more transparent and therefore easier for everybody to understand. An honest effort was made to explain how public funds are being used.

For example you are able to discern this transparency when the minister says the NMDS funds were raided to finance other purposes like the Bidvest project. These are little things that point to transparency that I like about this budget.

The challenge facing us as a nation is access to finance and I would love to see a bigger chunk of the budget going towards the funding of small businesses because this sector has the capacity to create jobs and contribute tax revenues.

Another issue is the reduction of tax thresholds. Yes it improves the disposable income of the tax payer. But the question is how are we going to fund that? It would be better if we go on to help taxpayers create some jobs with the savings from this reduction.

We could have done that by creating a savings pool where the money would be saved for investment.

Thabo Qhesi- CEO Private sector Foundation of Lesotho

We are extremely happy with the budget allocations. Notably we are happy with the public procurement reforms as this is something we have been looking forward to for a long time. We are also heartened by the minister’s remarks in cautioning his colleagues not to be involved in public procurement. We are also impressed with the increased allocation of funds for the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO)

Once again are impressed by the significant increment in the budget allocation for the Small Business Development Ministry compared to last year.

‘Marethabile Sekhiba- Founder of Scenery Guesthouses

The commitment by government to pay suppliers on time is very encouraging. Delays in the payments frustrate the development of many businesses and they are therefore unable to create jobs. If this commitment is implemented I think we will get somewhere.

As a tourism stakeholder, I am happy that some of our white elephants in the sector will be operationalised.

It is sad that most of them are dormant and this discourages tourists if they come and find that they are not functional. So if we can implement these plans it will be good for us.

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