BCP criticises haphazard budgeting process

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Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has said under the current regime the budgeting process is haphazard and has virtually lost meaning and credibility.

The BCP said this following the news that despite being allocated P11 billion this financial year, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Richard Matlhare has said that they need a further P5.2 billion. The money needed Matlhare said, would address shortage of various resources in schools, taking the total ministry allocation to P16.2 billion.

“The financial prudence previously associated with development planning in Botswana is a thing of the past. Waste and corruption are the order of the day.

Budgeting must entail the process of allocating and spending limited income informed by a well thought out plan and priority areas,” said the BCP vice president Kesitegile Gobotswang.

 “During the budget session, Members of Parliament use the opportunity to push their wish list for development of their areas. 

 In the end they get very little or nothing under the pretext that there are budgetary constraints.  It then comes as a shock when they are requested to approve supplementary budgets amounting to billions of pula in subsequent sittings after they were told that there was no money.”

He stated that either the budgetary process is deficient or government deliberately misinforms Parliament on the true status of the financial situation. It is not uncommon nowadays for Cabinet Ministers to lie to Parliament and get away with it, he said. 

“Supplementary budgets are a clear demonstration that the true income status of the country is never presented to parliament.  Otherwise how does government explain such request after informing Parliament and the general public that there was no money?  We should be concerned about the current state of affairs.”

He advised: “A good budget must factor in all possible risks including unanticipated emergency situations such the outbreak of human and animal diseases. Once a budget is passed by parliament it becomes a law and binding.

How can parliament pass the law and three months down the line be requested to consider and approve amendments”.

“Government must be transparent when dealing with issues of monitory nature.

The nation deserves to know where money for the supplementary budget comes from, after they were told in Parliament and in kgotla meetings across the country that there is no money. Under these circumstances Parliament must reject supplementary budgets. Government must not be allowed to manipulate Parliament to be awarded a blank cheque.”

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