TEBOHO KHATEBE MOLEFI
MASERU – Finance minister, Thabo Sofonea, this morning presented before parliament the country’s maiden Mid-Year Budget Review of the 2020/2021 fiscal year, a first for Lesotho and an added pillar for fiscal transparency, accountability and a more open budget formulation process.
The minister also called for the approval to the fiscal performance and in-year budget adjustments, proposals contained in his review of the current fiscal year.
The total expenditure proposed for 2020/21 amounted to M21. 9 billion, of which M15.7 billion was earmarked for Recurrent Expenditure while M6.3 billion accounted for government Capital Expenditure.
Aimed at inter-ministerial collaboration, multi-disciplinary approaches and subsidiarity to tackle poverty, malnutrition, and joblessness focusing on service delivery at the local level the 2020/2021 budget was delivered by then Minister of Finance Dr Moeketsi Majoro on February 26.
Majoro has since been elected prime minister, with his new cabinet roping in Thabo Sofonea as the new finance minister.
Talking of the 2020/2021 budget in August, Sofonea voiced concern over the country’s struggling economy, which he observed has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the economic growth was already stifled before the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, adding that “Lesotho’s economy was projected to contract considerably in in the current fiscal year. The contraction is attributed to the decline in economic activity in the textiles and clothing, construction and mining sectors.
The 2020/21 budget marked the fourth estimates of the collapsed coalition government led by former Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane, who has been replaced by Majoro.