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Defence ministry seeks billions for upkeep

BDF fighter jets guarding Presidential Jet OK1 PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
The Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security has requested over P5 billion under the recurrent budget for the year 2018-2019, an increase of 16% from the previous budget.

The ministry reckons it is due to an increase in departments’ activities and growth respectively, especially Botswana Defence Force (BDF) where the biggest chunk will be heading.

Presenting his budget to the Committee of Supply, Minister Shaw Kgathi requested P5,852,994,500 with an increase of P846,695,730 for it to be shared amongst his various departments.

He outlined that the increase in budget for his ministry that covers, amongst others, Dukwi Refugee Camp, Legal Aid Botswana, BDF, Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation and the Botswana Police Service (BPS), was the continuous fight against emerging security issues and matters of national concern.

“This calls for continued tabling of strategic legislation aimed at dealing with emerging security issues and matters of national concern such as the control of money laundering and financing of terrorism, which are also issues of concern in the global framework,” he explained.

According to his budget request and allocations, the BDF would be the biggest gainer as he has requested over P3 billion with an increase of 16% from the 2017-2018 budget explaining that the increase was attributed to the growth of the force leading to operational costs.

BPS will get P1,956,317,350 with an increase of P354,436,930 (22%) from the previous budget while Prisons’ proposal stands at a 12% increase to P367,509,240.

Kgathi explained that the increase in Prisons budget was due to largely an increase in the service charges and subsistence costs

account as well as vehicle replacement budget.

The rest of the budget will fall under the other departments like legal aid that gets a little over P39m an increase from over P23m for the last budget while the ministry headquarters gets over P212m, an increase of 38% from over P59m from the last budget.

Under the development budget the BDF still goes for the biggest chunk at a tune of over P2 billion, an increase of the last budget due to building projects, completion of accommodation facilities, maintenance of existing infrastructure.

Also the remaining balance still under BDF was explained that it would be shared between Air Assets, military specification vehicles, communication equipment and other essentials, as the organisation continued to raise the level of operational readiness.

The rest of the budget go to the various same departments getting P490m to be used for fleet expansion, police facilities like housing and telecommunication.

In addition to his budget request, Kgathi also mentioned that he would soon be presenting to Parliament among other bills, the arms and ammunition bill and the police amendment bill.

“The stock theft Bill and the penal code Bill. The latter pieces of legislation are in response to public outcry relating to increasing incidents of stock theft, and the non-alignment of the penal code to the Children’s Act.

Also, the emerging offences like money-laundering, kidnapping and hostage taking,” he said.




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