The minister of local government and chieftainship, home affairs and police Lebona Lephema has issued an order halting filling vacant positions in the ministry.
Lebona told Newsday yesterday was done to study the style of employment used in the ministry, find ghost workers burdening governmentâ€™s already strained finances and evaluate if all workers were fully utilised.
â€œKindly take note that it has been decided that filling vacant positions within the Ministry should be stopped with immediate effect until further notice,â€ he said in a memo to the ministryâ€™s Principal Secretary (PS), Lefu Manyokole, on November 14.
According to the International Monitory Fund (IMF) report released on June 7, 2022, the country is suffering from an increasing public spending and overburdened wage bill.
â€œPublic spending in Lesotho has been outpacing GDP growth and as a result, public spending in per cent of GDP increased from below 40 per cent to beyond 50 per cent over the last 15 years,â€ the report read.
The report showed that share of compensation of public employees and social spending had been increasing, squeezing capital spending and other nonwage current spending.
It stated that since some current spending is incorrectly recorded under the capital budget, the true size and growth of current spending was likely even larger.
The report added: â€œThe compensation of public employees in Lesotho has been on an increasing trend. The wage bill as a per cent of GDP has increased from around 11.7 per cent in FY05/06 to 18.4 per cent in FY20/21, increasing from around 60 per cent to 70 per cent as a share of domestic revenue.
Lesothoâ€™s compensation of public employees, according to the report, stands out among sub-Saharan Africa in percent of GDP, with the highest public wage premium among Southern African Custom Union (SACU) countries.
Lesotho has the highest wage bill as a per cent of GDP while the number of public servants per thousand of population is the smallest among SACU countries, the report further revealed.
â€œThis implies the average wage for Basotho public servants would be very high relative to other SACU countries,â€ the report read.