By:Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – For the longest time the public is often told of repeated scenarios of underutilization of the funds allocated in every fiscal year despite many challenges, problems as well as projects that need to be undertaken.

The successive governments have not successfully arrested this phenomenon which features regularly in every financial year.

In its recent annual report of 2022/2023, published last week, the Road Fund complained about the Maseru City Council (MCC) and the Ministry of Local Government “below par” execution rate of their programmes despite availability of funds to do so.

Established under section 21 (3) of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 2011 and operationalized by the Finance (Road Fund) Regulations, 2012, the Road Fund is charged with collection of revenue for maintenance of roads in the country. It is reports to the Minister of Finance.

The Fund reported that for the year ended March 31, 2023 it collected a total of M219, 118, 860 an increase of 19.24% from M183, 726, 680 from the same period last year before – March 31, 2022.

It says the Fund performance on revenue collection has improved on all streams including vehicle registration fees which is its newly assigned stream that was previously under the Department of Traffic and Transport’s jurisdiction.

The Road Maintenance Levy is reportedly contributed largest to the basket and was followed by the Toll Gate Fees and these two saw an adjustment of rates from the beginning of the year under review.

“During the year under review, the Road Fund Board of Directors remained concerned about the performance of Road Implementing Agencies, which remained below par in

relation to funds allocated to them and the actual performance on the ground as per their

mandate of maintenance and rehabilitation of roads.

“The Roads Directorate implemented projects which were rolled over from the previous

financial year. Most of these projects were rolled over due to the inability to monitor and

control programmes under their jurisdiction. On the contrary, the Ministry of Local Government and Maseru City Council did not implement any new projects in 2022-2023,” reads the Fund’s report.

For the 2022/2023 fiscal year the Fund reports that it had allocated the sum of M110, 385, 000 to Roads Directorate, an agency responsible for construction, upgrading, rehabilitation and maintenance of primary, secondary, tertiary and other roads including the bridges on the Lesotho Road Network. Road Directorate reportedly used M63, 523, 434 of just over M110 million it had been allocated to executive its functions.

Also under the same period, MCC is said to have received M77 million and only used M1, 533,439 of this allotted funding. Similarly, the Ministry of Local Government under utilized its funding of M22, 743, 881 by using meagre M3, 610, 022.

Of M7, 266, 494 it was allocated, Road Safety reportedly used M3, 939, 076.

The report continued to point out that despite the allocation of funds to the two implementing agencies, the Road Fund is worried about such “non-performance is directly related to the deterioration of the road network, increased vehicle operating costs and safety on the roads”.


It further paints a bleak picture: “In terms of allocation of funds to Implementing Agencies, the Road Fund earmarked a total of M217, 395, 375 to the Roads Directorate, Maseru City Council, Ministry of Local Government and the Road Safety Department accordingly. However, Agencies were only able to implement projects that amounted to M72,605,971 during the period under review, hence the growing concern in relation to performance versus allocated funds.”

Efforts to solicit reaction from the  MCC  failed as its spokesperson ‘Makatleho Mosala had not responded to the questions sent to her yesterday by the time of going to press. She said she was still consulting with relevant officials.

Similarly, the Ministry of Local Government, and Chieftainship could not be drawn to comment on this report saying they will comment at a later stage.

With a view to maximize levies collection at the border gates and improve road user experience, the Fund has reported that it is in the process of rehabilitating three border gates through construction and upgrading – Caledonspoort Border, Maputsoe Border and Maseru Bridge.  These construction work started during the previous financial year and is anticipated to reach completion in the next reporting cycle.

The Fund said it has set aside M17 million to undertake this project.

“A lot can be achieved when the relations remain sound and meaningful for the benefit of the country, hence the commitment to remain in contact with the stakeholders through the Road Fund Stakeholder Management and Relationship initiatives,” the Fund has said.