Sound macroeconomic policies, good governance, and high levels of investment, supported by diamond and other mineral production, have moved Botswana into the ranks of middle-income countries. Maintaining fiscal surpluses over the medium term is essential to accumulate savings for the period when diamond revenues decline. Striking an appropriate balance between monetary and exchange rate policy objectives is critical. The banking sector is sound and near-term risks are well contained, but there is scope for financial sector reform. Continued structural reform and improvements in statistics are essential.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that high levels of unemployment, poverty, and inequality persist in Lesotho despite its faster growth compared with regional peers over the last decade. GDP growth is expected to be about 3 percent in FY2017/18, below the average of 4.1 percent for the past decade, and driven by mining and agriculture. Over the next three years, GDP growth is expected to be led by mining and construction related to the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II. A steep decline in Southern African Customs Union transfers, a major source of government revenue, will result in a fiscal deficit that is likely to exceed 6 percent of GDP for the second year.
The authorities reiterated their firm commitment to the policies and objectives outlined in the May 17, 2010 Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies. They are committed to a reduction in other primary spending by 2 percentage points of GDP. With the medium-term outlook broadly unchanged, the policy discussions focused on the FY2011–12 budget and the authorities’ structural reform agenda. Revenues are projected to fall in 2011–12, reflecting the disappearance of exceptional receipts in 2010–11. On the spending side, the authorities are facing a number of additional commitments—some of which are of a temporary nature.
Lesotho has made progress toward macroeconomic stability. After recent economic development, diamond production, garment industry, and good performance in the agriculture and service sectors were recovered. The fiscal position and public debt sustainability indicators have improved. Achievement of these objectives will call for an acceleration of the pace of structural reforms with a focus on promoting private sector development, while ensuring strong medium-term fiscal and external positions. The envisaged programs would be key to relieving constraints on growth and enhancing productivity.
Lesotho’s fiscal and external balances have deteriorated as a result of the global economic downturn and a surge in spending. Undertaking key fiscal adjustments to restore macroeconomic stability is necessary for raising Lesotho’s growth potential. Executive Directors commend the measures taken in the budget to reduce expenditure. Further strengthening of debt management and accelerating structural reforms is crucial for raising Lesotho’s growth potential. Strengthening the institutional and regulatory framework for banks and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) will help to support financial sector health and stability.
This 2008 Article IV Consultation discusses that Lesotho has made significant progress in macroeconomic performance, but the pace of implementation of key structural reforms has been slow. After a decade of low growth, economic activity surged above historic trends, averaging 6.6 percent during 2006–07, driven by the mining, textile, and construction sectors. However, poverty has seen only a modest decline. Executive Directors have commended the authorities for their prudent macroeconomic management, which has contributed to the recent strong economic performance and a continued build-up of international reserves.
This staff report examines the Kingdom of Lesotho’s 2012 Article IV Consultation and second and third reviews under the three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility. Real GDP growth for 2010/11 is estimated at 5¾ percent, and inflation rose gradually in 2011, driven by international commodity prices. Despite the sharp drop in Southern African Customs Union (SACU) revenues, fiscal performance in 2010/11 has been much better than programmed, reflecting higher domestic revenue collections and cuts in recurrent spending.
In response to a request from the authorities and as part of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) Enhanced Data Dissemination Initiative (EDDI) 2 project, a government finance statistics (GFS) mission visited Maseru, Lesotho, during January 20–31, 2020. The mission was the last, in a series of five consecutive technical assistance (TA) missions to Lesotho, as part of the EDDI 2 project. The objective of the five-year project, that started in 2015 was to foster compilation and dissemination of GFS and public sector debt statistics (PSDS) consistent with international methodological standards. The work program under the project identified the enhancement of classification of transactions in fiscal accounts and the expansion of the institutional coverage of data to include all significant general government units as key milestones to achieve by the end of the project.
This Technical Assistance Report discusses the findings and recommendations made by the IMF mission regarding compilation of Government Finance Statistics (GFS) in Lesotho. The IMF mission reviewed current compilation methods of GFS for the budgetary central government and found that there were significant accuracy, classification, coverage, and comprehensiveness issues that undermine the credibility of fiscal statistics currently compiled and disseminated. Currently compiled and disseminated GFS include a large and persistent statistical discrepancy. The statistical discrepancy averaged to about a third of total revenue in preliminary data for FY2016/17 and FY2017/18. The mission also identified and discussed with the staff of the Ministry of Finance a number of reasons that may partly explain the discrepancy.
This paper on government finance statistics (GFS) mission in Lesotho presents a review of progress against recommendations of previous GFS technical assistance (TA) missions and further assist with improving the quality of GFS currently compiled and disseminated. The mission reviewed progress with implementation of previous GFS TA recommendations and updated the public sector institutional table. The mission reviewed the new compilation methods and noted some improvements with the approach. Accounts payable are now recorded under financing, to bridge the timing difference of commitment basis expenditure. The report explains that the legal and institutional environment is conducive to compiling macroeconomic and financial statistics; the relevance and practical utility of existing macroeconomic and financial statistics are monitored; management processes are in place to monitor the quality of macroeconomic and financial statistics; and institutional integrity, transparency, and ethical practices meet statistical standards. There is still a need to correct recording to distinguish expense from acquisition of financial assets.