See also:
» 12.02.2010 - Lesotho to focus budget on alternative revenue creation
» 05.10.2009 - Lesotho signs $25 million agreement with WB
» 23.09.2009 - Lesotho will be hard-hit by declining SACU revenues
» 07.08.2009 - Lesotho govt to also investigate industrial pollution
» 30.07.2009 - Forum discusses role of infrastructure to health care
» 01.04.2009 - Lesotho's public accounts still a shame
» 23.11.2006 - German firm finally debarred over Lesotho bribes
» 10.04.2006 - NGO calls for audit of dam construction tenders

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Economy - Development | Society

Lesotho govt not backing off new financial tool

afrol News, 16 July - The Lesotho minister of Finance, Timothy Thahane has defended the newly introduced financial management for the government of Lesotho saying it was meant to correct and monitor expenditure.

Speaking to the media in Maseru today, Mr Thahane said the new computerised budgeting and accounting system has resulted to a number of delays in the issuance of purchases orders and cheques in government, as a result of shortcomings in its implementation, especially on making correct entries by officials at the departments.

The Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) which became operational in April, has been said to have left a number of civil servants and suppliers unpaid while the government is trying to sort out and master the new system.

According to Minister Thahane, the government will not back down on the new system as the old and outdated one has been abandoned. He said the old Government of Lesotho Financial Information System (GoLFIS) had a number of loopholes and allowed poor public accounting.

He said as an example, the old system could not reject incorrectly put entries in the system thus allowing the entries to go through unnoticed.

The IFMIS which was introduced to speed up payments, improve public accounting is also expected to impose greater control on purchasing, accounting and reporting in government, according to Mr Thahane.

He said the new system will also help halt over expenditure by government departments. “If the department has exhausted its budget, it will not issue purchase orders to suppliers as the new system will automatically reject the command,” he said.

Minister Thahane further said the system will also enable the government to trace all transactions, including those embezzling government money. “We will be able to trace through the access codes and password of individuals in authority of any wrong dong,” he said.

The system which has cost the government M70 million, according to Mr Thahane, will save millions of government funds which are mismanaged by those in authority, but it has come under fire from both public and private sector for the confusion caused since it was introduced, with reports in some instances said to have almost collapsed the operations of departments.

Mr Thahane admitted to having delays to payment of wages or allowances. “In some cases these delays have risen because relevant ministries budgeted for these allowances in one department and then attempted to book the actual payment in different department,” he stated.

“The system has taken off, we are not backing down on it, all we need to do is to solve the problems brought about by the system,” he said.

However, critics of the new system, said the government had not foreseen the obstacles before introducing the new system further saying the government has also failed to have other alternatives in case the systems failed.

As part of addressing the shortcomings, the ministry has established a help desk for new system users to ensure efficiency. It is also planning to open another customer helpline which will address the customers’ grievances.

The Ministry is also dispatching teams to ministries and in districts to identify problems attached to the implementation of IFMIS and try to solve them, Mr Thahane said.

The government of Lesotho has over the past years been grappling with the public accounting sytems as well as aligning expenditure to allowed budget limits. With numerous attempts to clean the government books, some of the suggestions have been for the reopening of new balances for at least a break cause by two years of lack of and missing records.

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