The World Bank on Friday approved a US$5.5 million(about M60 million) creditfor Lesotho to support government’ sefforts to improve thecountry’s public financial management system.
In a statement, the World Bank Country Director for Lesotho, Asad Alam, said: “This project is an important part of the World Bank’s strategy to help Lesotho in its efforts to improve its capacity to utilise public resources more effectively.
“It will support the implementation of the country’s National Strategic Development Plan with its focus on reducing poverty and job creation”.
The primary focus of the project will be the re-engineering of government’s Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), Alam added.
“This will facilitate improvements in the quality and timeliness of public financial management information.
“It is also expected to improve budget execution, and strengthen financial accountability. “Towards that end, the project will help simplify business processes, strengthen change management and aid capacity building for public servants in various government departments
who are charged with Lesotho’s public finance management functions.”
The World Bank Lead Financial Management Specialist and Task Team Leader on the project, Gert Van der Linde, said ensuring the financial management system is fixed, remains critical.
“The government of Lesotho has been struggling for many years to build a system that provides reliable and timely financial information for effective decision-making.
“Fixing this is a crucial element to help improve service delivery and accountability to the people of Lesotho”, said Van der Linde.
The World Bank has been operating in Lesotho since 1966. Its current portfolio comprises seven projects under implementation including health, water, roads, education agriculture and competitiveness with a total commitment of about US$117 million (M1,3 billion) of which US$59.2 million (M652 million)is still to be disbursed.
This particular credit is provided free of interest over a 30-year period through the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA).
The IDA, established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans and grants for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.
The association is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa.
Resources from the IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than US$2 (M22) a day.
Since 1960, the IDA has supported development work in 108 countries.
Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about US$15 billion (M166 billion) over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.