Boko rubbishes ESP

Duma Boko
Duma Boko

The leader of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), and Leader of Opposition Duma Boko, says the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) looks like a grand design for looting.

Responding to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday, Boko said his problem with the ESP is the basis for the stimulus and the context in which it is introduced.

“First, the President does not seem to understand what an economic stimulus does. By nature, economic stimulus programmes are short-term measures intended to moderate slumps in the economy and minimise pain such as loss of jobs.

Ours is sold, even before its details are known as ‘…a holistic action plan for achieving the goals of stimulating economic growth, accelerated job creation and economic diversification’.  ESP do not do that. This is lazy and irresponsible,” Boko said.

He said if the President Ian Khama wants economic transformation, he should invest time, effort and resources in developing a transformation programme based on solid evidence and analysis, and in the context of the overdue National Development Plan 11.

Boko said there is enough evidence that government lacks project management capacity and some of the examples are Morupule B, the Palapye glass project, and Botswana Meat Commission debacle among others. 

Therefore, he said, it is reckless to pour billions of Pula into a delivery system that is unable to spend the resources in a context that suggests project management and fiduciary failures will be extensive.

“Those schooled in fiscal management advice that substantial fiscal space could be created simply by raising government efficiency rather than raiding our reserves and expanding debt,” he said.

The Leader of Opposition noted that the ESP was announced before its details could be worked out, which essentially means that the executive arrived at a decision to draw down the reserves and expand debt burden without adequate prior analysis and advice by competent institutions.

Boko said Khama’s government spent over P340 billion in government expenditure. “In that time, it consistently failed to spend its development budget and unemployment remained above 17% increasing to 20%, or 33% if we include the discouraged job seekers.” On corruption, Boko said it is now an institutionalised culture and its new phrase is, “Go ja sengwe”.

He said the phrase is even thrown around carelessly without understanding it, but it is the single most powerful indicator of the extent of the reach of corruption. 

“The head has rotted.  The body is now also in an advanced state of decay. In every institution where regulatory power is vested in individuals, from the highest office to the lowest, everybody wants, Go ja sengwe,” he said.

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