Mmegi Online :: New budget, same old game
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Monday 10 December 2018, 15:12 pm.
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New budget, same old game

Ordinary people feel there is nothing new in the national budget presented by Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo. They feel that it is the case of the old wine in a new bottle.
By Oarabile Mosikare Wed 04 Feb 2015, 12:09 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: New budget, same old game








Frank Nswazwi (not real name) a local government employee believes it was important first to appreciate Matambo’s balanced budget with a proposed surplus budget of P1.23 billion for the 2015/16 financial year. Nswazwi says since the Minister also proposed a development budget of P12.93 billion, expectation was that the project would help in solving great fiscal and macroeconomic challenge and unemployment.

“My disappointment with the budget is the usual empty rhetoric in the government enclave on a commitment to address employment creation in a sustainable manner.

Though I appreciate infrastructure projects which have been proposed and their propensity to temporarily address some unemployment concerns, this country needs major economic projects spearheaded by the state which can help diversify the economy and create jobs,” Nswazwi said. 

He said emerging economies such as Dubai, Singapore and Mauritius changed their economic narrative mainly because of an interventionist state, which invested along the private sector in big economic projects.  He explained that one commentator in one of the Sunday newspapers decried the lack of a big vision, big economic projects approach in government , which was the case  with Matambo’s budget.  “It is one typical budget which has been on the corridors of our economy for a while; roads construction, sewer, construction of schools, huge public service wage bill but nothing much on greater ambition to diversify the economy and create jobs.” 

Pascal Raditsebe, a freelance journalist said there had not been so much change except with the figures.  “ The concept is just the same two to three budgets back.

I

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see government blame things on recession, but I don’t agree. They would have thought otherwise. The issue of not starting new projects because there is no money is not reason enough to me. They could have used recession to the advantage of Botswana like putting more money to use, especially from the reserves.”

Raditsebe  further said the budget was a dull one, and out of reach of the ordinary Motswana.  To an unemployed Fana Morake it does not matter how the budget looks like as it means nothing to a country dominated by civil servants without buying power.

“The most urgent thing needed is to adjust salaries of civil servants so that there is  buying power and businesses benefit more from increased expenditure in the local market. As it is now household indebtedness is over the roof; civil servants can no longer afford basic needs of life,” said Morake.

 He said the majority of Batswana especially Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) depended on buying power of the locals most of  whom were civil servants, who could not buy because of eroded buying power. Kealeboga Ramatopi, a small businessman at the Gaborone main mall,  believes the budget should also have addressed the fact that the city council was always harassing them.

 “This shows that the government doesn’t appreciate our contribution to the economy,” Ramatopi said.  He said he was concerned that every year government ministries returned unused moneys to the national coffers.

“Why can’t they use that money to help us struggling business people?” he wondered.

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