THE government’s financial hurdles have forced the cabinet to direct the Ministry of Transport and Public Works to outsource some of its services, among them the provision of vehicle registration plates, to improve efficiency.
A tender to outsource the provision of the registration plates issued last month is divided into three lots covering the central, northern and southern regions of the country.
Motorists have in recent years complained that delays in issuing of vehicle licence plates often cost them lots of money in fines.
The government has been under fire from motorists for its poor service in producing number plates. Its delays, the motorists complain, is responsible for them getting into trouble with traffic authorities.
Public Works and Transport Minister Prince Maliehe recently told the Lesotho Times that financial constraints coupled with the imperative to follow stringent public procurement regulations in procuring services at times resulted in delays and serious inefficiencies, making delays in producing licence plates inevitable.
“Our service of producing registration number plates has not been up to scratch for some time as it takes too long to deliver,” Mr Maliehe said.
“So, through this cabinet decision of outsourcing the service we are trying to address that issue of inefficiency which is not only costly to us but also our clients.”
He said the move would also ensure the empowerment of the private sector.
The minister said only registered, indigenous Basotho companies were open to compete in the tendering process for the service. But the local companies could said also partner with foreign based companies to improve their chances of meeting the tender requirements.
Mr Maliehe, however, appealed to Basotho entrepreneurs to stop the habit of “selling their souls” by transferring their business rights to foreigners as some decisions were deliberately intended to empower locals.
On the capacity of the private sector to adequately deliver a job that the government has failed to do for many years, the minister said the tender for the job had two components namely the technical and the financial proposal which would determine whether or not the interested companies had the ability to effectively carry out the job.
He further indicated that government would not hesitate to cut ties with any company which failed to meet the requirements of the job.
“We have a clause in the contract which will allow us to terminate the contract with any firm which is not meeting the requirements of the contract.”
On what would happen to the ministry officials currently employed to produce the number plates, the minister said the ministry had just two of such employees. They would be transferred to other parts of the traffic department.
The minister also allayed fears that the service, once privatised would become too expensive, saying whoever wins the tender would be regulated.
He said the ministry would ensure that motorists are not burdened with exorbitant charges. The government would subsidise the service.