Opening Remarks of the Deputy Resident Representative at the Security Sector Expenditure Review

November 3, 2022

Security Sector Expenditure Review 2022


The National Reforms Transitional Office in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP Lesotho) is conducting an expenditure review of the Security Sector under the Lesotho / UN National Security Sector Reforms for Peacebuilding Project (NSSRPP), per activity 1.2.1, Technical assessment and costing exercise of the security sector. The workshop will bring together participants from the security agencies and the relevant government ministries and departments to share ideas and to provide information for the report of the expenditure review. The workshop will take place from 17 to 21 October 2022 at Molengaone Lodge. Opening prayers are scheduled for 08.30 Monday 17 October and UNDP’s address is scheduled for 09.00 to 09.20. Welcoming remarks will be delivered by the Principal or Deputy Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Law.


  1. Good morning bo ‘Mè le bo Ntate, Le phela joang?


  1. The Kingdom of Lesotho has a relatively small security sector compared to most of the countries in the Southern African Development Community. That small security sector can be adequate for the security needs of the country if it is well organised, well governed, well trained, well disciplined, well equipped and well financed. One of the major challenges reported in the lead up to this workshop and during many UNDP engagements with security sector stakeholders is the lack of resources.

Why are expenditure reviews important and why we should embrace them?

  1. The interplay of security, justice, and public finance is still a relatively unexplored area of development. Informed discussions on security sector expenditure policy are an essential part of the national policy or reforms process, through which central finance agencies fulfill their function of contesting (or advocating for) expenditure proposals in the planning and budgeting process. Dialogue on security expenditure policy also strengthens international partners’ engagement on security issues, helping them make informed decisions regarding the appropriate level and form of external assistance. Expenditure reviews are not to be feared, indeed they give you ammunition in your struggle for more resources and help free up resources for your core business.
  2. Expenditure reviews do not determine approaches to security threats and challenges. They are about numbers. Or more accurately, they help governments and practitioners to obtain a better picture of the money spent on security, including what it is spent on, how and, most importantly, why? By providing a better analysis of such spending - through public expenditure reviews - technical experts can facilitate better informed decisions at the senior leadership level about policy and operational approaches to the sector. These reviews also allow authorities to assess the sustainability of both current operations and proposed reforms.
  3. In my opinion, public expenditure reviews are the also foundations of government and public trust, stemming from transparency and accountability for the effective use of taxpayers money. They pay for us so they should know, at least in broad terms, what their money is being used for. I
  4.  know there are always concerns about secrecy in the work and expenditure of security institutions. But there is much that is not secret. Countries like the US publish their budgets, in broad terms, on the internet and even the numbers of personnel and major platforms. Please check it out in SIPRI (the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), Janes or Wikipedia! Despite the need for secrecy on sensitive defence projects like buying submarines, they are always subject to a competitive (but closed tendering) process. Single-source procurement because of “secrecy” guarantees worst value for money!!

The problem

  1. It may be of little comfort to you, but all government sectors in all countries feel under resourced, even in countries where high levels of the GDP are committed to the sector. It never seems to be enough (and UNDP is no exception). Of course, the impact of resource shortages is felt sharply in poorer countries through a lack of the most basic necessities like rations and quarters, salaries and allowances, and basic training and equipment. Unforeseen operations then place an additional burden on those scarce resources and I believe this is a problem in Lesotho.
  2. Another universal truth is that government spending rarely increases. Every country has a limited budget and must live within its means, like the rest of us. Security institutions are no exception.

Possible solutions

  1. In general, there are three ways of increasing resources in government sectors, and I can assure you the United Nations uses them all!
    1. The first way is to compete more effectively for a ‘piece of the pie’, or should I say demonstrate the comparative advantage of your department or service over that of others. Amongst other things, this is about demonstrating:
      1. Your relevance and importance – how do you add value? You are more likely to attract funding if you can demonstrate that security is essential for citizens’ livelihoods and access to services, and for the free exercise of civil, political, social, and economic rights; that security is particularly important for the poor and other vulnerable groups, who suffer disproportionately from fear, insecurity, loss of property, and violence.
      2. Second, demonstrating the link between your mandated roles and tasks and the cost of delivering them. If, for example, your government approved establishment is 200 people, you need the salaries and allowances for 200, not 150! If the salary vote is only for 150 then the establishment must be reduced. The same goes for the cost of delivering your mandated roles and tasks. If there is insufficient funding for your assigned missions, then the missions needs to change. But you need to clearly and honestly demonstrate the real cost of those people and operations.
      3. Third, by demonstrating the cost of and link between, for example, poor conditions of service and poor retention. Well trained soldiers and officers cost money to train and we need to keep them both for reasons of morale and to avoid the costs of training new-comers to replace those who left in search of better pastures.
    2. The second way to increase resources is through sound fiscal management of the resources you are given:
      • if we are not using our current resources well,
      • if there are staff or facilities sitting idle for long periods of time,
      • if, under the guise of secrecy, we are not doing competitive tendering,
      • if staff are being diverted from their core duties for extended periods,
      • if money is being spent on vehicles, fuel or accommodation for personal use,

we can expect tough questions from government and we shouldn’t be surprised when the budget does not increase or, worse, is reduced.

    1. Which leads me to the third way of increasing one's resources which is to make better use of existing funding. That means prioritising, better processes, more ‘bang for buck’, rationalising, and trimming waste wherever it occurs. I think ideas for this should be a major goal of the workshop. Given the paucity of resources, Lesotho must avoid duplicated mandates or vague objectives. If your resources are limited, you should also seek to rationalise and share common facilities. Does every service need their own band, shooting range or training centre, for example? Your training needs might be different but the lecture halls, kitchens, student accommodation, gymnasiums, shooting ranges and parade grounds can and should be shared. I know there is always a resistance to this in the security sector because of “regimental history” and “espirit-de-corps” but Armies far older than yours have accepted the need for joint messes, barracks and offices to drive down the cost of their administrative overheads, thus increasing the resources available for core functions like war fighting or policing.


  1. I wish you wisdom and courage for the days ahead. To use a military slogan, we need to “fight smarter, not harder” and I encourage you to do that with your expenditure and budget processes.

Ke leboha haholo.