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No evidence for govt’s M443 million debt

Business

Bereng Mpaki

There is no documentation to prove that the government owes some of its suppliers M443 million for the 2022/23 financial year.

This was revealed by Finance and Development Planning Minister, Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane last night during her state of the economy address.

Dr Matlanyane said the government had been struggling to meet its financial obligations since 2014 due to declining revenues amid growing spending.

In December 2022, Dr Matlanyane told the National Assembly that the government owed more than M1 billion to its suppliers in response to a question lodged by the deputy leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), TÅ¡eliso Mokhosi.

Last night she said the government was unable to pay M950 million in supplier payments for the 2021/22 financial year, although most of it was paid during the current financial year, leaving only M260 million.

She said the government had discovered that there were some outstanding supplier debts that were not backed by relevant documentation to prove that indeed the government owed them money.

She said of the current fiscal year’s M643 million outstanding supplier debt, only M200 million had supporting paperwork while M443 million did not.

“In the current 2022/23 financial year, we have established that the government owes suppliers about M643 million, apart from the outstanding M260 million from 2021/22.

“We have found that of the M643 million supplier debt for the current fiscal year, the actual debt that government must pay amounts to only M200 million.

“We have found that M443 million does not have the supporting documentation to prove that government owes the suppliers,” she said.

Dr Matlanyane said struggling to clear its past financial years’ financial obligations had landed the government in a vicious cycle where it finances its past budget obligations using the next financial year’s budget and so on.

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