The economy performed slightly better than originally forecast for the National Development Plan 10, this is according to Dr. Taufila Nyamadzabo, Secretary, Economic and Financial Policy at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
A modest structural transformation occurred with the non-mining sectors of: Trade, Hotels and Restaurants; and Banks, Insurance & Business Services, playing a major role in driving the economy, with Govt. also improving slightly. Dr Nyamadzabo observed that this calls for concerted diversification effort with more emphasis on export-led-growth. When it comes to Sector Contribution during NDP 10, the Mining sector on average declined by 3.4 percent, the non-mining sector grew by 5.6 percent cushioning the decline of real GDP.
The Financial Policy Secretary shared his observations when making a Presentation of the draft NDP 11 macroeconomic chapters recently where he observed that to achieve the theme of NDP 11 of “Inclusive Growth for the Realisation of Sustainable employment Creation and Poverty Eradication” thorough strategies be adopted. He called for the development of diversified sources of growth; Eradication of Poverty & Reduction of Income Inequalities; Strengthening Social Protection Programmes; and Enhancing Government implementation capacity, among other strategies. Government Budget
Dr Nyamadzabo indicated that total Revenues are estimated at P295.0 billion during NDP10. He said revenue driven by Mineral Revenue was 34.9% of total revenues and Customs & Excise accounted for 27.1%, indicating the need to strengthen diversification efforts in order to increase and diversify the revenue base. Non-mineral Income Tax stood at 17.2% and value Added Tax is 12.2%.
“Government expenditure is estimated at P304.0 billion during NDP10 and Recurrent expenditure, mainly wages & salaries is the major driver for total spending, accounting for 74.0% while Development Expenditure accounts for 26.0%. Recurrent Budget is estimated at P225.4 billion while the Development Budget is estimated at P76.8 billion. Net Lending is estimated at P1.7 billion.”
Dr Nyamadzabo said while Government expenditure stimulates growth, it has the potential to crowd out private sector growth and reverse diversification efforts. Therefore, there is need to stimulate private sector growth and attract investment, including FDI, he said.
“There has been relatively higher growth in recurrent than development expenditure hence there is need to account for recurrent cost arising from development expenditure (i.e., maintenance requirement, utilities, wages& salaries). Overall, the budget balance indicates an estimated deficit of P8.4 billion, or – 5.6% of GDP, over the Plan period, as against P31.9 billion projected.”
According to Dr Nyamadzabo, developing diversified sources of growth is priority. He observed that there is need to push further on Beneficiation, cluster development, Special Economic Zones, EDD, SMMEs & Informal Sector, Natural Resources & Climate Change, and Promoting Local Economy Development. He further stressed on Export -Led Growth Strategy and Domestic Expenditure as a Source of Growth and Employment Creation.
He also emphasised on ensuring a conducive environment for private sector growth and employment creation. He said it critical to maintain macroeconomic stability; a sound regulatory framework for Doing Business and Global Competitiveness; well thought out infrastructure development; labour productivity and skills development; and land servicing, among other things.
On the eradication of poverty and reduction of income inequalities, Dr Nyamadzabo said sustainable livelihoods for the poor could be achieved by accelerating job creation through economic diversification and broad based growth on the one hand, and strengthening human development of the poor on the other. He said access to basic services like health, education and water provision is fundamental. He said there is need to break the cycle of child poverty, by unpacking and addressing it in detail in the context of inclusive growth.
He called for the provision of social safety nets and other measures to address poverty. He stressed on the development of the informal sector and SMMEs; citizen economic empowerment programmes; Developing and improving productivity of the agricultural sector; Ensuring affirmative action to promote equal opportunities and equal treatment to cater for vulnerable groups, including women, elderly and people with disabilities, etc.
Enhancing Govt. implementation capacity Dr Nyamadzabo said it is of paramount importance to Improve the overall coordination of the implementation of Government programmes. He said establishing project implementation units to undertake mega projects; Re-engineering the tendering and adjudication processes to ensure speedy delivery of projects; Enforcing sanctions as per the contracts; could be some of the solutions.
In addition, Dr Nyamadzabo emphasised on blacklisting companies that perennially fail to complete projects on time and budget; Implementing the privatisation policy as well as the public service reforms, outsourcing programme; Increasing the use of the Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) project delivery mechanism; and, Implementing an effective and efficient national monitoring and evaluation system. Macroeconomic projections for NDP 11 According to Dr Nyamadzabo budget deficits are projected for the first three years of NDP 11. But he further shared that slight budget surpluses are projected over the last half of the Plan period with a cumulative surplus of P1.05 billion being projected for the entire NDP11.
CONCLUSION Dr Nyamadzabo said the review of NDP10 shows that low growth rates, undiversified economy, and continued dependency on mineral revenue and Customs & Excise, call for more effort to be put in growing the economy and expanding the revenue base.
He said the development challenges of unemployment, poverty, income inequality must be tackled hard. He said these could be achieved through implementation of sustainable policies, strategies and programmes that can create more employment opportunities and eradicate poverty.
Like its predecessor plans, NDP11 recognises the need to strengthen diversification efforts; more emphasis will be placed on: promoting exports; increasing private sector participation through Privatisation, Outsourcing of core activities and PPPs in order to ease the burden on Government.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.