One time Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chairman and current Tati West legislator Samson Guma Moyo has made an emphatic plea to Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo advising the slashing and consolidation of loss-making parastatals to arrest the careening budget deficit.
Moyo said the country should not keep an imprudent system of pumping money year in and year out into unsuccessful state funded entities including Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), Botswana Railways, Air Botswana, National Development Bank (NDB) and Botswana Savings Bank (BSB) among others, consequently throwing the country into a self-created budget deficit.
He also said that of the 42 state funded parastatals, a majority of them are not giving government any value and steps must be taken to cut unnecessary state expenditure highlighting Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) which he says has minimal impact in the economy but gobbles and hoards government funds.
Moyo advised Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo to provide strategic thinking, employ a bold attitude and to tighten up even if making unpopular decisions makes him equally unpopular adding that government can only be the catalyst for change.
Moyo said that the combined weight of most of the country’s 42 government aided parastatals unnecessarily contribute to the country’s budget deficit.
He continued to say that the government funds are tied to assets and the country’s balance sheet cannot construct infrastructure such as railways urging it to look to the private sector.
The ostensibly emphatic Moyo, added that building an economy takes years while destroying it could take two days.
Speaking on the sidelines of Parliament business, Moyo also proposed the streamlining and consolidation of parastatals with similar or overlapping mandates. He proposed that since the country’s economy is crowded with similar parastatals and loss making state funded agencies such as Botswana Railways, Botswana Post as well as Air Botswana which all trade in logistics, they can thus all be consolidated.
He also continued that those financial institutions such as Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), Botswana Savings Bank (BSB) as well as the National Development Bank (NDB) can either be made lean, disposed off or consolidated to make them effective and profiteer as they compete for the same space with each other and private lending institutions.
He also proposed that government should make hay while the sun still shines by forestalling borrowing internally or externally to finance its budget in times when revenue from minerals and taxes dwindle. He says that Botswana should always look home first and does not need at any point to draw funds from its foreign reserves urging the state to look at other less dicey means such as disposing its assets to entities such as pension funds. He says that the immediate benefit will be that government will immediately be flush with cash from the transaction which should be pumped straight into government revenue stream to finance state projects.
He continues that government should then proceed to rent and use the assets it has sold such as its high rise buildings, removing itself from being liable to maintenance of the buildings as is currently the case. He also says that another benefit is that government will continuously earn revenue from the taxing the new owners of the property.
Moyo also said that another option is that government should also look into its tax regime and reduce the car corporate tax and asses the possibility of charging tax on turnover.
He says that charging tax on turnover is the same as charging tax on Value Added Tax (VAT) and the immediate advantage of it is companies will pay as and when they make profit and that government will have immediate cash in its coffers without waiting for year end. He says that this can be achieved if government reduces the tax rate and proceed to charge it on turnover or sales and not on net profit.
He said that this tax regime is beneficial as it prevents the passing of extended periods of time before government can collect due taxes. The result will be such that governments projects will be spurred on with the ever availability of funds.
He also says that the current tax regime is liable to manipulation because companies can look for any other expenses to include in the expenditures while charging taxes on turnover is near fool-proof as tax will be paid in shorter amounts of time.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.