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Guma guns for parastatals

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.

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People with Disabilities Face Barriers to Political Participation in Botswana

23rd February 2024

Individuals challenged by disabilities encounter formidable obstacles when endeavoring to partake in political processes within the context of Botswana. Political involvement, a cornerstone of democratic governance, empowers citizens to shape the legislative landscape that impacts their daily existence. Despite Botswana’s reputation for upholding democratic ideals, recent insights unveil a troubling reality – those with disabilities find themselves marginalized in the realm of politics, contending with substantial barriers obstructing the exercise of their democratic liberties.

A recent inquiry in Botswana unveiled a panorama where individuals with disabilities confront hurdles in navigating the political arena, their involvement often restricted to the basic act of voting. Voices emerged from the study, underscoring the critical necessity of fostering environments that are accessible and welcoming, affording individuals with disabilities the active engagement they rightfully deserve in political processes. Noteworthy was the account of a participant grappling with physical impairments, shedding light on the glaring absence of ramps at polling stations and the urgent call for enhanced support mechanisms to ensure an equitable electoral participation.

The echoes reverberating from these narratives serve as poignant reminders of the entrenched obstacles impeding the full integration of individuals with disabilities into the democratic tapestry. The inaccessibility of polling stations and the glaring absence of provisions tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities loom large as formidable barricades to their political engagement. Particularly pronounced is the plight of those grappling with severe impairments and intellectual challenges, who face even steeper hurdles in seizing political participation opportunities, often grappling with feelings of isolation and exclusion from the political discourse.

Calls for decisive action cascade forth, urging the establishment of more inclusive and accessible political ecosystems that embrace individuals with disabilities in Botswana. Government bodies and concerned stakeholders are urged to prioritize the enactment of laws and policies designed to safeguard the political rights of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, initiatives geared towards enhancing awareness and education on political processes and rights for this segment of society must be spearheaded, alongside the adoption of inclusive measures within political institutions and party structures.

By dismantling these barriers and nurturing a political landscape that is truly inclusive, Botswana can earnestly uphold its democratic ethos and afford every citizen, including those with disabilities, a substantive opportunity to partake in the political fabric of the nation.

 

 

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Neo Kirchway- Defying the odds

23rd February 2024

In the heartwarming tale of Neo Kirchway, a beacon of inspiration emerges, shining brightly amid life’s adversities.

Defying the constraints of destiny, Neo Kirchway, a resilient Motswana soul now thriving in the United States, stands tall despite the absence of her lower limbs. With unwavering determination, she tends to her cherished family – a loving husband and four children – engaging in the daily symphony of household tasks with remarkable grace.

Neo’s indomitable spirit traces back to the fateful year of 1994, a time when medical intervention called for the amputation of her curled legs. Embracing this pivotal juncture with unwavering courage and the blessing of her mother, she ventured forth into a world adorned with prosthetic legs, eager to script a tale of triumph.

Venturing beyond borders, Neo’s journey led her to the embrace of the United States, where serendipity intertwined her fate with that of her soulmate, Garrett Kirchway. Together, this harmonious duo navigates the ebbs and flows of life, their bond fortified by unwavering love and unyielding support.

In a bid to illuminate paths and embolden hearts, Neo leverages the digital realm, crafting a sanctuary of empowerment on her YouTube channel. Brimming with authenticity and raw emotion, her videos chronicle the tapestry of her daily life, serving as a testament to resilience and the unwavering human spirit.

Amidst the digital cosmos, Neo, affectionately known as “KirchBaby,” reigns supreme, a luminary in the hearts of 658,000 enraptured subscribers. Through her captivating content, she not only navigates the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and childcare but also dances with celestial grace, a testament to her boundless spirit and unyielding zest for life.

In the cathedral of Neo Kirchway’s narrative, resilience reigns supreme, echoing a universal truth – that amidst life’s gales, the human spirit, when kindled by hope and fortitude, emerges as a beacon of light, illuminating even the darkest of paths.

 

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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.

 

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