The leadership of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has decried the one-year financial cycle system that they are currently using.
Addressing the on-going Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) last week, the BDF commander Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo said the current financial cycle duration of a year for BDF to facilitate their programmes is not adequate.
He disclosed that to purchase military equipment they need intensive engagements and acquisition hence the one-year financial cycle is not enough, forcing them to return the money as the year ends before procuring the desired equipments.
“We need an expanded and flexible financial cycle in order to have enough time to process and facilitate our programmes. Currently, it is difficult to execute military equipments because for example it can take up to a year and half to repair some military equipment like flights,” said Segokgo.
He said it also takes time to plan to repair them starting with contacting companies that can assist and the money end up being returned before the process could be completed.
“I am uncomfortable with the way funds are dispensed on yearly basis. This has resulted in the army using old equipment, (and) putting our workforce at risk. At times we end up taking money that was supposed to be used for a different programme to cover for another one,” he said.
In their comment, PAC members supported BDF’s plea for rollover approach stating that government should consider it not only for the army but to be done across ministries.
“I am glad that the military has raised this issue of rollover approach, but government should consider it across ministries not BDF alone. This is what we have been pushing at Parliament and I am happy that today BDF has raised it,” said president for the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Ndaba Gaolathe.
Gaolathe said most
He said such countries approve their budgets maybe for two years and after that they keep on doing adjustments.
“This is the best practice that the entire country system should adopt,” he said. In response, the Accounts General (AG) (NAME) said as long as the BDF is still part of civil service there is nothing that can be done, as they should follow the government system.
He went on to say budget for the army is not done in the open, but there is room for BDF to make its presentation with the committee handling their budgets.
Despite supporting the rollover budgeting approach, the Member of Parliament for Tati East, Samson Moyo was of the view that BDF could do something in the current system to procure their military equipment.
“We may have recommendations for that system to change, but in the meantime I think there is something that you could do with the current system,” said Moyo.
However, Segokgo said they have made recommendations concerning the issue before with the finance ministry and have come before AG pleading with them to pay for something using the previous year funds.
Meanwhile, some members raised a concern that there has been an outcry concerning the army’s procurement of equipment consuming the country’s largest budget. Segokgo, however, warned them not to think of compromising the country’s security at any point, as it can be too risky.