Botswana spends more on salaries
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.
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.
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.
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DPP drops Kably threat to kill case
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Letlhakeng/Lephephe Liakat Kably has welcomed the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s decision not to prosecute BDP councillor, Meshack Tshenyego who allegedly threatened to kill him. However, the legislator has warned that should anything happen to his life, the state and the courts will have to account.
In an interview with this publication, Kablay said he has heard that the DPP has declined to prosecute Tshenyego in a case in which he threatened to kill him adding that the reasons he received are that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. “I am fine and at peace with the decision not to prosecute over evidential deficits but I must warn that should anything happen to my life both the DPP and the Magistrate will have to account,” Kablay said.
Connectedly, Kably said he has made peace with Tshenyego, “we have made peace and he even called me where upon we agreed to work for the party and bury the hatchet”.
The DPP reportedly entered into a Nolle Prosequi in the matter, meaning that no action would be taken against the former Letlhakeng Sub-district council chairperson and currently councillor for Matshwabisi.
According to the charge sheet before the Court, councilor Tshenyego on July 8th, 2022 allegedly threatened MP Kably by indirectly uttering the following words to nominatedcouncilor Anderson Molebogi Mathibe, “Mosadi wa ga Liakat le ban aba gagwe ba tsile go lela, Mosadi wame le banake le bone ba tsile go lela. E tla re re mo meeting, ka re tsena meeting mmogo, ke tla mo tlolela a bo ke mmolaya.”
Loosely translated this means, Liakat’s wife and children are going to shed tears and my wife and kids will shed tears too. I will jump on him and kill him during a meeting.
Mathibe is said to have recorded the meeting and forwarded it to Kably who reported the matter to the police.
In a notice to the Magistrate Court to have the case against Tshenyego, acting director of Public Prosecutions, Wesson Manchwe cited the nolle prosequi by the director of public prosecution in terms of section 51 A (30) of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana as reasons for dropping the charges.
A nolle prosequi is a formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor of all or part of a suit or action.
“In pursuance of my powers under section 51 A (300 of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana, I do hereby stop and discontinue criminal proceedings against the accused Meshack Tshenyego in the Kweneng Administrative District, CR.No.1077/07/2022 being the case of the State vs Tshenyego,” said Manchwe. The acting director had drafted the notice dropping the charges on 13th day of March 2023.
The case then resumed before the Molepolole Magistrate Solomon Setshedi on the 14th of March 2023. The Magistrate issued an order directing “that matters be withdrawn with prejudice to the State, accused is acquitted and discharged.”
DPP seizes prosecution duties from Police
Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has finally taken over prosecution from the Botswana Police Service (BPS). The police have been prosecuting for years, but the takeover means that they will now only focus on investigations and then hand over to the DPP for prosecution.
Talks of complete takeover began as far back as 2008, but for years it seemed implementation was sluggish. However, the Minister of Justice, Machana Shamukuni, revealed that the complete takeover is expected to be completed soon.
During a presentation to the Committee of Supply by Shamukuni this week, it was revealed that the project has been implemented in 22 police stations nationwide, including Maun, Selebi-Phikwe, Palapye, Francistown, and Kasane. He further stated that the project has been allocated P3,000,000 for the 2023/2024 financial year to facilitate the opening of more satellite offices for the DPP.
Shamukuni said the Lobatse station is scheduled for a complete takeover by the end of May 2023, while the Kasane DPP satellite office has been established and became operational as of February 1, 2023.
“As reported previously, preparations are at an advanced stage to open a satellite office in Tsabong to curtail expenses, as well as frequent long-distance trips to these areas, as it is currently serviced by the Lobatse DPP office,” Shamukuni said.
Shamukuni said that the takeover strategy is to enable a seamless and gradual takeover of prosecution from the BPS without overwhelming and overstretching the thin resources at its disposal.
According to Shamukuni, the implementation of the prosecution takeover project has increased the workload of the 211 prosecutors in the DPP establishment.
Furthermore, the Justice Minister said DPP statistics show that the DPP has a total of 11,903 cases and dockets as of January 2023. He indicated that this is a significant increase in the number of cases being handled by the DPP, considering that in November 2021, the DPP had just over 8,471 files.
“Out of the total case load, 8 382 are cases pending before various courts while 3521 are dockets received from law enforcement agencies of which 1 325 are awaiting service of summons while the rest are being assessed for suitability of prosecution or otherwise” said Shamukuni.
He further stated that The DPP has consistently maintained an 80% success rate in matters completed at court.
“As at the end of January 2023, the success rate stood at 82.3% against a target of 90% whilst the average performance in respect of turnaround time for conclusion of cases at court stood at 17.5 months against a target of 18 months,” he said.
BACKLOG OF CASES – LAND TRIBUNAL
Meanwhile, Minister Shamukuni has revealed that Gaborone land Tribunal is experiencing a backlog of cases. Before parliament this week, Shamukuni revealed that a total 230 appeals were completed for the period of April 2022- December 2022 and only 76.5% of them were completed within set time frame.
The minister said that the Gaborone division has experiencing a backlog of cases due to manpower constraints and he further indicated that presiding officers from other divisions have been brought in to expedite case disposal.
He further indicated that the land tribunal is a specialized court that has been empowered to resolve appeals arising from land boards. “It has been mandated to determine appeals from the decisions of Physical planning committees of Districts Councils” said Shamukuni.
Land Tribunal relocated to the Ministry of Justice from Ministry of Land and Water Affairs in November 2022.
“An amount of P37, 842,670 is requested to cover salaries, allowance and other operational expenses for the Department of the land Tribunal,” alluded Shamukuni
BCP, AP stalemate in 7 constituencies
When the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Alliance for Progressives, Botswana Labour Party (BLP), and conveners reconvene next week, the controversial issue of allocation of the seven constituencies will be the main topic of discussion, WeekendPost can reveal.
Not only that, but the additional four constituencies will also dominate the talks. The idea is to finally close the “constituency allocation phase,” which has proven to be the most difficult part of the ongoing negotiations.
Earlier this year, the two parties announced that the marathon talks would be concluded by February. Even at a media briefing last month, BCP Secretary General Goretetse Kekgonegile and Publicity Secretary Dr. Mpho Pheko were optimistic that the negotiations would be concluded before the end of February.
However, it is now mid-March and the talks have yet to be concluded. What could be the reasons for the delay? This is a question that both Kekgonegile and Pheko have not responded to, as they have ignored the reporters’ inquiries. However, a senior figure within the party has confided to this publication as to what is delaying the highly anticipated negotiations.
“We are reconvening next week to finalize constituency allocations, taking into account the additional four new ones plus the outstanding seven,” he explained. It later surfaced that Gaborone Central, Gaborone North, Mogoditshane, Tswapong North, Francistown West, Tati West, and Nata Gweta are all contested by both BCP and AP. This is because the other 50 constituencies were allocated by December of last year.
The three parties have failed to find common ground for the Bosele Ward by-elections. Are these constituencies not a deal breaker for the talks? “None of the constituencies is a deal breaker,” responded a very calm BCP official.
In Bosele Ward, AP has yielded to BCP, despite most of its members disapproving the decision. On the other hand, BLP has refused, and it will face off with BCP together with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
The decision by BLP to face off with BCP has been labelled as a false start for the talks by political observers.