The budget was presented under the theme “Building on Resilience, Working Together, and Fostering Sustainable and Fair Growth”.

Minister of Finance and Development Planning Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane tabled the financial estimates for the fiscal year 2024/25 on the year that marks the Bicentennial commemoration.

The Minister has admitted that the government has over the past years failed to propel the country’s economy to new heights, and underscored that as government they will provide the necessary support and level playing field for the private sector to be at the forefront of driving Lesotho’s economy.

Dr Matlanyane highlighted that the local economy is projected to grow by 2% during the 2024/2025 financial year and this growth is attributable to resurgence in diamond mining activities, and the ongoing construction of major works under the auspices of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project II (LHWP-II).

She stressed that the government must identify key priority areas as stipulated in the National Strategic Development Plan II (NSDP II) and align them in order to get value for each Loti spent.

The Finance Minister committed the government to work supporting the private sector through engaging in public private partnerships (PPP) arrangements for construction of infrastructure development projects.

Dr Matlanyane said the government will come up with the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) to contain wasteful expenditure on capital projects adding that stalled projects will be identified and reduced.

In order to save costs, she said they will freeze new government positions which are not a priority, restructure ministries, departments and agencies and eliminate redundant positions. Also, she said they will have to shrink the wage bill from 18.5 % to 14%.

By the end of January 2024, government debt was sitting at M22.9 billion- M19 billion being external debt and M3.8 billion domestic debt. Government constrained debt to minimal increase of M176.8 million from previous financial year.

Government plans to issue M500 million treasury bonds to finance infrastructure development projects in order to bolster economic growth.