Govt Blows P20m On State House

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Parliament has been told that refurbishment of State House cost P20 million in the past five years.

The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Daniel Kwelagobe, said the money was spent on the renovation and maintenance of the president's official residence. 

The work at State House commended during National Development Plan (NDP8) and the project is being implemented in phases. 

Phase I, which involved the refurbishment of the ornamental pool, commenced towards the end of NDP in 2002/03 and was completed during the 2004/05 financial year.  The project cost P2.8 million

Phase II comprised the construction of new public toilets, refurbishment of old toilets, construction of two gate houses, gate keepers' day room, installation of CCTV cameras and staff car park.  The phase commenced in July 2006 and was completed in October 2007 at a cost of P9.8 million

Phase III comprised the refurbishment of the main house, cottage and landscaping of the main garden.  The phase commenced in March 2008 and is expected to be complete by the end of May, 2009, Parliament was told. 

Kwelagobe said so far the expenditure on phase III is P7.3million. He revealed  that additional expenditure of P2.6 million covering construction and furniture requirements will be incurred by the time the project is completed in May 2009, bringing the total amount  for the phase to P7.3 million.

Speaking in an interview, Saleshando said he was concerned with the amount of money that was spent on the refurbishment of State House. He added that the government might end up spending more than P20 million on the refurbishment of State House.

"I was concerned that the costs seem to be too high. I get a sense that there was a lot of extravagance," said the opposition MP. 

He said the P20 million that has been spent, could have been used to build a new State House. "For P20 million you can get a well built new State House," he said.

Saleshando said some of the refurbishments were not necessary. 

The MP is amazed that although the buzzword in government circles these days is belt-tightening, a lot of money is spent on certain projects that could have been called off. 

"They are not practicing what they are preaching," he contended. Saleshando said an ornamental pool is just a water feature but it costs the government P2.8 to install it at  State House. 

He said money was spent on the construction of public toilets and the two guard houses.

The Gaborone Central legislator said at the end of the day, one has to question whether those refurbishments were necessary. 

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