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MEC govt to probe tax revenue administration: Mochoboroane

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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Seithati Mphatsoane

MOVEMENT Economic Change (MEC) leader, Selibe Mochoboroane, says one of his immediate tasks if voted into power in tomorrow’s elections will be to investigate the collection and administration of government non-tax revenues.

The outgoing Development Planning minister said he had learnt that some officials were stealing revenue generated from government services such as passports, IDs and birth certificates.

He told about 3000 party supporters during a rally in Masianokeng this week that it was not clear how the money was used and he promised to probe its administration.

Mr Mochoboroane said it was curious that the government continues to collect about M2,5 billion per annum from issuing out passports, IDs and birth certificates, yet demand has risen over the years.

“The government collects about M2,5 billion every year from public services and this money is not properly accounted for,” said Mr Mochoboroane.

“There is no accountability. I plan to change all that because I know some government officials share the money.”

Mr Mochoboroane said his party had identified how the government can earn more income to finance development projects.

An MEC government would increase its revenue base by improving collections for services offered by the health, home affairs and traffic departments among others, he said

Mr Mochoboroane told his supporters that an MEC government would ensure that Lesotho benefits from its natural resources such as water and diamonds, which he said “were being given away for a song”.

One of his government’s top priorities would be to revisit the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) agreement with South Africa.

There was urgent need to increase Lesotho’s royalties for the transfer of water to the neighbouring country, he said.

“Water royalties from South Africa have remained the same since the agreement was signed in 1986 and this has to change.”

Mr Mochoboroane said an MEC government would also renegotiate the state’s minority shareholdings in various diamond mining companies to give it controlling stakes.

As the major shareholder, his government would then be able to realise greater revenue from diamond sales. The revenue would in turn be used to build a sovereign wealth fund to finance capital projects, he said.

An MEC government would further set up a Lesotho Development Fund from proceeds of diamond sales. The Fund would be used to finance infrastructural development projects across the country.

Mr Mochoboroane also promised to increase the salaries of village healthcare workers to a minimum M3,000.

He said his government would also increase salaries for chiefs and introduce allowances for the disabled.

“Salaries for chiefs have remained the same since 2013. We need to increase them so that our chiefs can lead better lives.”

His government would also allocate more resources to fight crime.

It would also increase the budget for agriculture to boost the economy, Mr Mochoboroane said.

On her part, MEC media coordinator, Liteboho Kompi, told the Lesotho Times that they were happy with the growth of the party since it was established in 2017.

“We are seeing some noticeable changes and growth. Our support has grown since we started five years ago,” she said.