Mmegi Blogs :: NDP 11: same old same old...
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Friday 20 July 2018, 14:06 pm.
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NDP 11: same old same old...

President Ian Khama has called a special session of Parliament for National Development Plan (NDP) Number 11. The special session was preceded by a two-day workshop for MPs conducted by the government - Ministry of Finance and Economic Development - through permanent secretaries. Many MPs had been busy at their constituencies doing consultations prior to the summon.
By Dithapelo Keorapetse Fri 28 Oct 2016, 16:07 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: NDP 11: same old same old...








The NDP 11 session is a special one because the development plan wasn’t discussed during the Winter Parliament. It wasn’t unanticipated by many, but it didn’t come as a surprise. At the end of the discussions predicted to be December 1, the Sovereign will present to the country the State of the Nation Address after he prorogues Parliament and issues a proclamation to begin a new meeting of the Assembly.

The government’s plan was to have this session as entirely a special one with no other business other than NDP 11. The opposition insisted on having a normal session, arguing that the Sovereign, or anyone for that matter, cannot direct Parliament on what to do. The argument was that NDP 11 can dominate the business, but with no departure from the normal procedures. A compromise position was that there be questions for 45 minutes everyday. Once again, it’s clear that government business will dominate the Order Paper. The government assumes that it can use Parliament as it pleases in terms of passing stuff through it in a manner suggesting disregard for its role.

At the NDP 11 workshop, there was an argument between MPs and Ministers on Vision 2036. The issue was why the document, which is linked to the development plan, is a final document without the input of Parliament. The contention was that Parliament was in session when Kgotla meetings were held to consult on the Vision and that Parliament should play a very important oversight role.  The government argued that what is contained in the Vision document is the view of Batswana and can’t be altered by Parliament or the Sovereign. It was argued that the Vision 2036 task force was a good representation of Batswana and that their product is a final document. It further emerged that the Minister tabled the same in Parliament although it hasn’t been debated and adopted. It is insisted all the time by the Leader of the House that the document is final. The question is, why then is it necessary for Parliament to debate it? Parliament will play a role of a talk show for the National Vision 2036. It will rubber-stamp the document according to the ruling party chairman, in the next two days or so. This proves further that Botswana Parliament has been reduced to a useless body in so far as oversight of the executive is concerned. Parliament ought to interrogate the methodology of the Vision task force, its findings and packaging of the Vision. It is the only body which can verify whether what is contained is the view of Batswana. No other body can play this oversight role in a democracy. The ruling party has turned Parliament into a useless talk show akin to RB 1 Maokaneng radio programme.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development has presented NDP 11. After two clear days, MPs will debate it; eight days will be dedicated to debating the

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general principles. Key to NDP 11 is job creation and poverty eradication, a purported inclusive growth. The Minister says this is against the backdrop of three key features of the country’s political economy, namely poverty, unemployment and inequalities. The war against these wasn’t won through Vision 2016 and NDP 10. In fact, many projects under NDP 10 were shelved presumably because of bad economic performance. However a more closer look at the reasons for failure can be traced to misplaced priorities and imprudence. No major project has been submitted within schedule and budget. Some cynics seek to blame the Chinese contractors for some defects and delays, including cost overruns of  projects. The administration is to blame, no one else. Blaming foreign companies and in turn harassing foreigners resident and doing business or working in Botswana is bad. The xenophobia perpetrates mainly by an overzealous rogue intelligence unit is costing the country  foreign direct investment (FDI) and tourism. What’s needed is going back to the drawing boards to find ways of extracting maximum benefits from foreign investors and bilateral relations such as China-Botswana relations.  Implementation has been a problem, however, the issue is not that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the bureaucracy. Public offices are distributed as patronage to loyalists of the establishment with merit not being a qualification criteria. There are many political appointments which impact on implementation. Elite corruption at a grand scale and mismanagement are to blame for implementation problems. That’s why NDP 10 has failed. Pet projects of the President, luxurious and unnecessary security sector spending, especially for DIS and BDF and the Sovereign’s obsession with handouts-related programmes have consumed  a gargantuan piece of the NDP 10 resources.

It is unclear how many jobs were lost under NDP 10. The Minister only presented job creation rates which are unimpressive. In fact, these are a clear sign of failure to create jobs, e.g. 0,3% for 2015. No one should expect job creation or poverty eradication simply because the Minister has made such a commitment. The President himself made many promises in 2008. Look where the country is now! There are many words which have been said before and don’t mean anything e.g. diversification, poverty eradication, job creation, FDI, citizen empowerment, export-lead growth etecetera. The number of times these were said by Presidents, Ministers of Finance and bureaucratic elite in speeches is countless and has become monotonous and shows that there has been little or no action towards achieving these. Look at Botswana’s peers like Mauritius. Look at the Asian tigers. That BCL liquidation would not affect the fundamentals of the economy is unbelievable.  

 During NDP 10 water, power, jobs and business opportunities were scarce. Corruption, economic crime, unethical governance and mismanagement thrived. The same people are in charge and the same system is in place.So  things won’t be different with NDP 11. The only authentic  change can come with the overhaul of the entire system.

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