Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka has announced that Botswana’s economy is expected to decline by 13.1 % against the initial projected growth of 4 % for the 2020/21 financial year.
When addressing members of the media on Friday, Dr Matsheka said this is due to the effect of COVID-19 global pandemic which will shrink the global economy by 3 % against the initial expected growth of over 3 %.
Against initial projected revenue of P62.4 billion Botswana‘s economy will only generate a projected revenue of about P48 billion. Dr Matsheka explained that therefore government has trimmed its budget from P67.6 billion to P59.6 billion. The country’s budget deficit will now shoot up from initial P5.2 billion (2.4 % of GDP) to over P10 billion which will now be over 5 % of GDP, well over government threshold of 4%.
According to Dr Matsheka, Government will therefore do away with some planned expenditures and projects. The Minister revealed that conferences and meetings will be cancelled, especially international travels by government, state funded institutions and parastatals.
Funding to parastatals and quasi-governmental institutions will be significantly reduced. “No luxury of attending international conferences but rather we are going to be a destination of conferences as a country,” he said. The decline in government revenue will be attributable to a massive reduction in Mining & Mineral revenue which is anticipated to shrink by over 33 %.
The decline in mining and mineral revenue is predominately as a result of a halt in rough diamond sales due to travel restrictions and standstill in trading across the industry.
The diamond industry is Botswana‘s key foreign income earner and largest contributor to GDP. It was projected that diamond revenue will bring to the table a total of P20 billion, however Dr Matsheka revealed that because of the severe impact of the coronavirus, it is expected that revenue from minerals will drop to about P6 billion. Meanwhile Tourism and hospitality revenue will go down by over 32 %, the Minister shared.
At the same briefing the Minister announced that the Covid-19 Relief Fund currently has about 2 billion pula (as seed contribution by government) and 60 million pula (from private sector). Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Matsheka and gave details of other procurement decisions made to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov’t orders medical supplies worth P2. 4 billion from China
Dr Matsheka further announced that Botswana has placed an order for medical supplies worth P2. 4 billion from China and they are currently waiting for the delivery.
He said they are working together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations and the Embassy of China to have the goods arrive on time. The Minister further reiterated Government interim decision to halt salary increases for government workers.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.
The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.
This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.
Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.