For the elite, by the elite

Each February, the Finance Minister speaks for a minimum of 90 minutes on the performance, current state and projected position of the country’s welfare. Those sitting in the air-conditioned public gallery within the National Assembly nod or shake their heads imperceptibly, taking in each figure, each policy announcement.

Outside, in the public tents, scores of ordinary Batswana watch the proceedings, eyes glazed over from the stupor that often results from the bombardment of techno-jargon and hot temperatures. Further away, many more listen on radio or watch on television an annual ritual from which they feel increasingly excluded and view as either purely scholastic or irrelevant. If the alienation of Batswana from the budget was merely an issue of communication or techno-speak, a crisis would easily be averted by training legislators to communicate the budget to their constituents, pointing out areas of relevance. Again, if the sole reason was that popular interest in the budget died when the announcement of a civil service wage review was moved to the Public Service Bargaining Council, solutions could be found.

Even the chronic challenge of low financial literacy could be sorted out. However, the challenge is graver: The budget announcement, in its current form, fails to reach the minimum yardstick for relevance in the lives of ordinary Batswana. When Kenneth Matambo says the economy is expected to grow by 4.9 percent this year, the statement has no resonance with the ordinary public.

Editor's Comment
Happy Independence!

We are 56 years old and what do we have to show for it? Looking at where Botswana started and where it is today, there are a lot of developments, but whether the developments match the number of years we have enjoyed as a country is a topic for another day.The fact that cannot be denied is we have seen major developments, but we are still lacking in several pertinent areas.Our beautiful country imports almost everything. We import fuel, food,...

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