Maseru – The Minister of Finance Dr. Moeketsi Majoro says the economic gap between the poor and the rich is too wide and needs to be addressed for the country to progress.
Responding to questions during a post-budget question and answer session in Maseru, Dr. Majoro said there are too many people in need of financial assistance to further their studies, but it is impossible for the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) to assist all of them due to budget constraints.
He cited a 700 Million Maloti pay-out by government for tertiary education every year, saying of the whole amount, effective collection goes around only 10 percent, and it is pivotal that government rewrites the loan-bursary structure so the underprivileged are given first priority as they are currently rarely assisted because they are less visible.
He added that government has decided that disability grants and other projects related to the disabled will be shifted to relevant ministries such as Social Development, but all issues will be discussed with other ministers to see how they can well be put in place to improve the status of the disabled and increase the literacy level and education standard of Lesotho.
Meanwhile, Director Macro in the Ministry of Finance Ms. Motena Tsolo said Southern African Custom Union SACU revenue is declining due to the fact that it is collected and shared among five member states, depending on each country’s Gross Domestic Product, saying the country’s economy needs to grow so that taxes become effective by not lowering spending power.
Mrs. Mabataung Khetsi of Lesotho National League of Visually Impaired Persons called for a braille template of the next budget speech as a way of meeting the visually impaired half-way, saying she is concerned about the low number of learning institutions for the blind, which accommodate a limited number of pupils, increasing the number of illiterate people in the country.