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Nasha explains scarce skills budget

Staff Writer
Only the Ministry of Health, the Attorney General's Chambers and Ombudsman have budgeted for the scarce skills allowance in the 2009-2010 financial year, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Margaret Nasha said yesterday.

She said that the allowance was introduced during the budgeting process hence other ministries did not cater for it.

The minister was responding to a question by the MP for Lentsweletau, Major-General Moeng Pheto at the beginning of the third meeting of the fifth session of the ninth Parliament.

Pheto wanted to know if it is true that only the Ministry of Health, the Ombudsman and the Attorney General had budgeted for the allowance. He asked whether in light of the global economic recession and the country's budget deficit of P13 billion, the allowances will be sustainable. He wanted to know whether expatriates are paid the scarce skills allowance given that they have already been induced by their expatriate packages. "It is correct that Scarce Skills Allowance was not budgeted for in 2009-2010 financial year except for Ministry of Health, Attorney General's Chambers and Ombudsman. I can assure the Honourable Member, that government is committed to paying this allowance and is indeed continuing to do so," Nasha stated.

She said that the scarce skills allowance of up to 40% was reasonable because it is meant to attract and retain skills that are

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scarce. She said the decision was taken because it was very difficult for government to retain such skilled personnel. "It is correct that expatriate officers are paid Scarce Skills Allowance in addition to the expatriate package they get, purely for retention purposes."

Meanwhile, the MP for Serowe North West, Tshekedi Khama will ask Minister of Works and Transport why it takes at least seven hours to renew a driver's licence in Gaborone and what plans are put in place to improve the situation. The MP for Gaborone Central Dumelang Saleshando will ask the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, why the Speaker of the National Assembly and Specially Elected MPs are paid constituency allowances though they do not represent any constituency. He wants the minister to disclose the annual constituency allowance earned by the Speaker and Specially Elected MPs.

The MP also wants the same minister to state the amount of funds used since January 2009 to transport Vice President Mompati Merafhe to Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) campaign meetings; and how much has been set aside to be used for the same purpose between now and the general elections.



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