Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has, from an economy informed perspective, given the salary increment as is proposed by Pemandu report consultants the nod, fresh confidential report leaked to Weekend Post has revealed.
The top secret report by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, titled “economic background paper to inform government’s position on the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers” indicates that the Pemandu recommendations to the government of Botswana are reasonable. Pemandu has recommended 20% increment for public servants on grades A and B; 10% for grades C and D; and 15% for grade E and F. It further states that in the absence of increments to civil servants on higher notches, of grades E and F, “we recommend the following; 15% for grades A and B; and 10% for grades C and D.”
The additional costs to the government however will be P1.23 billion, the Pemandu report stated, adding that the report is based on among others the affordability to the government; that it is fair to all; and sustainable to the government; and will act as a motivation to government employees. â€¨The Ministry of Finance states in their classified report dated 27th November 2018, that: “It is therefore important that the recommendations from the Pemandu study on the public service remunerations should be considered against all these other competing needs on the government budget, as well as the limited fiscal space available in the medium term.”
According to the Ministry report, which is based on the baseline budget for 2019/2020, and to be submitted to cabinet, one can consider two scenarios for the implementation of the recent Pemandu recommendations; “scenario 1 it’s either government adopts full implementation of the recommendations; or scenario 2 government adopts and implement at least 50% of the Pemandu recommendations.”
The Ministry explains that with the adoption of these scenarios, especially scenario 1 (full implementation of the recommendations), it would however entail serious trade-offs to be made on whether to cut some of the activities and projects included in the preliminary budget figures for 2019/2020; and/or make no provision for the just submitted report of the Presidential Commission on the review of salaries and conditions of service for the political and traditional leadership and some specific officers.
The report conversely emphasises that the government should take cognizant of any provisions for the normal adjustments of salaries of public servants salaries to compensate for annual inflation; and make any provisions for emergencies such as droughts and possible outbreak of animal diseases. They were also advised to take note of any provisions for adjustments of salaries of the political and traditional leadership that may arise from the recommendations of the presidential commission on the review of salaries and conditions of service for the political and traditional leadership and some specific officers.
In the case of Botswana, the report cautions that the adoption of any of the scenarios will require government to finance the budget deficit through borrowing, both domestically and externally, and/or drawing down on its cash balances held at the Bank of Botswana. It is understood that this nonetheless can also adversely affect the country’s ability to attract foreign direct investment required for economic growth and creation of jobs.
While the Ministry states in the report categorically that it has “no objection to the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers,” it says though that it is important that the government’s offer in the negotiation for salaries and conditions of public service should take into consideration the unfavourable fiscal outlook.
The Finance Ministry also advises that the financial requirements for implementing any recommendations arising from the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers will have to be considered against this backdrop of the tight fiscal situation. More importantly, report points out that the government will have to make more hard choices at the appropriate time, given the competing demands on the budget.
In the end, as a country, it says government cannot afford to deviate from the path of fiscal sustainability by going beyond the threshold of a budget deficit of 4.0 % of GDP, as this could result in serious consequences for the economy. In view of the limited fiscal space in the medium term, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development therefore recommends that government’s offer “should not exceed scenario 2, which translates to 50% of the total remunerations (to public servants)” recommended in the Pemandu study.
While the adoption of this scenario, the Ministry acknowledges that it would result in the worsening of the deficit for 2019/2020 to P7.9 billion, or -3.7 % of GDP, against the country’s threshold of 4.0 %, but it would nonetheless leave some room for expenditures that may arise from the recommendations of the presidential commission on the review of salaries and conditions of service for the political and traditional leadership and specified officers.
Meanwhile, when delivering his inaugural 2018 State of the Nation Address on November 5, 2018, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi had previously said once the Pemandu Associates report had been finalised, government would engage public sector unions on the recommendations thereto. In addition, President Masisi in the SONA also informed the nation of his appointment of a commission, headed by Justice Monametsi Gaongalelwe, to review the conditions of service for the MPs, councillors, Ntlo ya Dikgosi and the judiciary which has since submitted its recommendations in December.
Masisi had said that it was government’s wish of for any recommendations agreed upon – to be budgeted for and effected on April 1 2019, which is the government financial cycle. Sources at the government enclave told this publication however that the controversial Pemandu report has long been completed but “shelved” for reasons best known to government particularly Office of the President and Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM). The report was compiled by the Malaysian consultancy private firm which was contracted by the Botswana government at the cost of USD 1,677,390 (BWP 17,666,271.4800), inclusive withholding tax of USD 218, 790.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.