MASERU – Corruption and lack of monitoring of state projects have caused government to spend M1.8 billion in extra costs. A total of 19 government projects, some dating back from as far back as 2011, have been stagnant with little to no progress.
In some projects, contractors have been paid without completing projects, some have disappeared while others are taking longer than expected to complete. Corruption and lack of monitoring and evaluation have all been identified as a major problem, particularly on the side of responsible ministries.
Absence of coordination between central government and local authorities has also been attributed. Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro revealed this on Wednesday in his progress report on these projects, insinuating that comparatively, the M1.8 billion in extra spending would be enough to complete the Mpiti to Sehlabathebe road.
Big projects such as that of M937 million Marakabei to Monontša road as well as the Mpiti to Sehlabathebe road are among those that have been affected by unnecessary delays.
Other projects include the M800 million Belo factory project as well as another M441 million Tikoe project. The Belo infrastructure and factory project, which started in 2017 was expected to be complete in December 2020. The project was solely financed by government of Lesotho.
“It is not acceptable for projects to take such a long time to complete because it also comes with unnecessary extra costs. For a long time, government have been making these mistakes. But now we are taking a stand and saying it is wrong and negatively affects development. Ministers will be fired if they fail more than once on the performance framework going forward,” Prime Minister Majoro said.
To overcome some of these challenges, Ministry of Development Planning has been tasked to ensure that all government projects are run and completed on time to avoid inconveniences. “The main problem has always been on the issue of monitoring and evaluation. But now we are further planning to have a planning board that will be based in the Prime Minister’s office to monitor all government projects,”
“The central government and other local authorities should also be in a position to work together from the beginning of a project to the end. We are also going to make sure that projects are well implemented on time,” Minister of Development Planning Selibe Mochoboroane echoed Majoro at the same event.
Most of the projects that had been abandoned by contractors, government has revealed, have resumed operations while others will be completed before the end of this year.