A key challenge for Lesotho is the downward rigidity in public expenditure—which increases when SACU transfers are buoyant but fails to be pared back when they fall. Fiscal rules would be of value in Lesotho to help provide constraints on spending and resist political pressure to overspend, while embedding fiscal responsibility within the country’s macro-fiscal framework and ensuring debt sustainability. This paper evaluates options for fiscal rules for Lesotho, discusses the institutional framework required to help underpin a sound fiscal-rule framework, posits a possible fiscal-rule framework for Lesotho, and offers a roadmap to introduce the framework.
In a country such as Lesotho with high capital mobility and leakages abroad, the relationship between both fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policy is intertwined, such that public spending and reserves are strongly linked. The paper offers an overview of the economic institutions and arrangements in Lesotho, discusses a short primer on macroeconomic policies under a fixed exchange rate, stresses a vital role for macro policy coordination in Lesotho, and proposes a macro policy framework. While the paper is developed in context of Lesotho, the analysis should also be applicable to small open economies under the fixed exchange rate arrangement.
Lesotho’s fiscal situation is challenging. This paper assesses the pressure points of main components of revenues, current spending, and capital spending, and then proposes a growth-friendly consolidation plan while protecting the vulnerable.