Government has allocated P385 million for the expansion of the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) under the National Development Plan (NDP) 11 as it transforms into a fully-fledged University.
BUAN was established in 2015 after Parliament passed the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) Act, which transformed the Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) into a fully-fledged University. The University has been an associate of the University of Botswana (UB).
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Patrick Ralotsia told Parliament this week that the expansion of the University will include the construction of faculty buildings and procurement of new fleet.
The Minister said the budget allocation is in line with the BUAN Transformation Plan, which will allow the University to be functional with all the necessary infrastructure by the end of NDP 11 in the financial year 2022/23.
He said for the year 2017/18, P25 million has been allocated for the refurbishment of staff houses and students hostels, insulation of student centre hall, purchase of audit management software, upgrading of lecture rooms and laboratories and project vehicles.
BUAN’s budget allocation for 2018/19 will increase significantly to P72.4 million and remain the same until 2021. For the year 2022/23, the University will get P70.4 million.
“For the subsequent years, the remaining allocations will be used for the construction of five faculty buildings and facilities in line with the BUAN Physical Master
Ralotsia stated that due to budgetary constraints, it has not been possible to adequately refurbish the existing houses as planned.
He explained that as a general policy, BUAN does not provide free housing to its employees except only when there is serious need and the units are available. He said in that instance, expatriates are given priority.
He also indicated that maintenance at BUAN is budgeted under the recurrent budget. He explained that the maintenance budget for 2017/18 is being prepared following the recent national budget allocation.
Ralotsia was responding to a question from the Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa where the University is based.
He had sought to know how much is budgeted for the expansion and maintenance of BUAN and what the funds will specifically be utilised for.
Nkaigwa also asked when a completed functional university with all the necessary infrastructure should be expected and how government is addressing housing needs for lecturers.
The legislator has in the past questioned the readiness of the institution to operate as a fully-fledged university with an autonomous structure from the UB as he doubted the infrastructure and its resource capacity.