The Finance and Estimates Committee (FEC) has approved P300 million funding for the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) despite resistance from opposition members who said the funding was irresponsible.
Presenting the budget before Parliament this week, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo stated that the P300 million requested by the Ministry of Agriculture for BMC will finance the operational losses for the current financial year.
However, MP for Gaborone Bonnington South Ndaba Gaolathe has said the approval of such an amount of money to BMC is irresponsible since BMC funding did not meet specific requirements like provision of rate of returns and financial risk levels. Gaolathe said BMC’s inefficiency is as a result of it being the only player in the industry.
Gaolathe also noted that the opposition members of the FEC were against the P300 million funding of the BMC but could not stop it since they were minority. Gaolathe is of the view that the Budget and Estimates Committee has to have its own frame work and scoring points to satisfy itself on whether the money requested was worth it or not.
According to the MP, the parliamentary committee was erring by continually wholly granting the 100% supplementary requests. He said this could in turn create not only a precedent but a culture that will compromise the Botswana government system of sustainable budgeting.
In December last year opposition MPs who are members of the Finance and Estimates Committee submitted a proposal on the framework of analysis of supplementary funding of Government ministries and its departments.
The frame work identified five key criteria, considered to be pertinent in any national supplementary budgeting process. This categories are; Category unforeseen, Category high systematic risk, Category cost-benefit, Category sustainability and Category Management of Risk.
The frame work stated that supplementary funding should only be those expenses that meet the requirements as prescribed by the constitution or that were foreseen but not budget for due to planning lapse or sudden changes in government revenue out-turn.
MP for Gaborone North Haskins Nkaigwa said parliament does not necessarily have to approve the whole budget for government ministries and departments. Nkaigwa said it was crucial that parliament closely determined the need and rejected the request if it is not satisfactory.
The former Gaborone city mayor said MPs are dancing to the tune of the executive without applying their authority as the legislature. Nkaigwa said there is a serious planning crisis in the government and bluntly rejected wholly the budget request made by the minister of Finance and Development Planning.
MP for Ghanzi North Noah Salakae said BMC is facing cash flow problems but government does not want to admit it. Salakae said it was time that government approved the legislation that would end BMC monopoly and open the market to other players as well.
MP for Selebi Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse also expressed his reservations about the BMC request and warned that Botswana is moving towards fiscal indiscipline. Keorapetse said under normal circumstances parliament should be rejecting some request especially where prudence in public funds is at stake.
Matambo requested a total of P399 million from Consolidated Fund and P45.9 million from the Development Fund. Matambo told parliament that following the Drought and Household Food Security assessment conducted from the 23rd March-10th April 2015, findings indicated that there was a significant decline in rainfall which led to loss of biomass and low hectorage ploughed or planted.
The finance minister said as a result of this Government declared 2014/2015 a drought year through a Presidential Directive. “The bulk of the requests under the recurrent budget will cover relief measures to be implemented by the respective Ministries,” he said.
Matambo said the a total amounting to P399,104,820 was requested by five ministries namely, Finance and Development Planning, Agriculture, Local Government and Rural Development, Health, and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Matambo said the P103 million requested by the finance ministry will augment the provision in the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Account, in order to cover the 85 percent subsidy to dry-land farmers who obtained seasonal loans from CEDA and NDB.
“The subsidy is meant to reduce their debt obligations with these lending institutions by 85 percent of the instalments that fell due in the 2014/2015 cropping season,” Matambo said. “The farmers are responsible for the remaining 15 percent of the instalments and are only covered if they would have paid their premiums.”
Supplementary Budgets as requested by Ministries
Recurrent Budget – Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (P103 million) – Ministry of Agriculture (P53 million) – Ministry of Local Government (P237million) – Ministry of Health (P4million) – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (P1million)
Development Budget – Ministry of Agriculture (P300 million) – Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (P38.9 million) – Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (P7 million)
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.