Food Security and poverty reduction must be priority
  Current Projects
  Grants Management
  Monitoring and Evaluation
  News Updates
  LCN's Online Resource Center


In a meeting where Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCN) member NGOs converged to analyse the budget estimates, offer and submit inputs; the civil society group spearheaded by LCN’s Economic Justice Commission unequivocally expressed serious concern that the Minister of Finance and Development Plaining Dr. Thimothy Thahane has reduced capital budget for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. The NGOs indicated that this nonchalant approach towards reinforcing any efforts to eradicate poverty is seriously going to hamper any government efforts towards development as agriculture always touted the backbone of this country’s economic emancipation.

The civil society members expressed that the government just cannot meet its poverty reduction obligations as enshrined in both Vision 2020 and the MDG by 2015 if it continues to under prioritise agriculture. The NGOs further called on the government to look into alternative efforts such as engaging NGOs that already employed the best practices in poverty alleviation such as Rural Self-Help Development Association (RSDA) and ActionAid. Again the government must consider past successful programmes such as assisting and

 supporting farmers directly in terms of subsidizing some of the expenses such as seeds, tillage and equipment as the recent experience of initiatives such as blockfarming have shown that not only are they easily susceptible to abuse and corruption but some of these schemes benefit the lucky few.

The 2008 Integrated Labour Force Survey preliminary results report showing employment by sector reveal that subsistence farming has always been the mainstay of Basotho Nation. The report indicates that subsistence farming contributed to the country’s GDP by 40.6%, government by 5.5%, parastatal by 1.6 while private sector by 30%. Put another way, the sector that contributes largely on the GDP is the one government under budgets for under the explanation that private sector should be the one creating jobs. However, it was under the Minister’s acknowledgement that the capacity of private sector to create jobs under the major dominance of manufacturing and textile sectors have been severely crippled by the decline estimated at 20.6% of GDP in 2002/2003 to 14% in 2009/10 due to competition and global financial crisis among other causes respectively.
One of the issues that the NGOs say further defies logic is that government seems to be investing in education which received the largest budget allocation at about M1, 843 billion, yet the government does not want to absorb the very products of this huge investment. This comes in the wake of Dr. Thahane’s announcement during his budget speech that government is not going to hire in the current financial year though it offers no clear and specific alternatives. Several challenges still exist with the quality of education offered with regard to free primary education in terms of high student/teacher ratio.

With regard to health, the 2008/9 budget emphasized ‘free access’ to services and drugs while the current budget (2011/12) talks of ‘universal access’ to health in the country. These two obligations ‘free access’, ‘universal access’ seem to be sending conflicting messages given that there is going to be an increase in charges to get health services. For instance, application and registration fee for identified in assisting in the provision of health services; Traditional healer from M20, M200 and clinics up to M1500, with this situation there is likely to be numerous unregistered healers, backdoor clinics that are likely to give sub-standard services as a result expose patients’ health to danger.

Priority should therefore be directed to prevention as the large portion of the country’s population is aware of the disease and the repercussions; challenge few if any at all efforts are directed to prevention. Components such as awareness, education, trainings, condom distribution and treatment of sexually transmitted infections need to be scaled up. All these components rely on a clear behavioral change strategy and effective response management.

On the accountability and governance the budget has to directly respond to people’s needs. In other words the budget for local government must also be decentralized in the spirit of proper and meaningful service delivery.
It has generally become a norm in recent times that civil society submit inputs to the national budget and later present the inputs to the Parliament through its Portfolio Committee on Economy before the budget is deliberated in parliament. LCN is the umbrella body for the NGOs in the country aimed at coordinating and supporting them in their various focus areas.

  © Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organizations - 2016   Web Master - Sesale Godfrey Masike