P2 billion supplementary budget: epitome of budget indiscipline

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The Minister of Finance and Development Planning has presented for adoption by Parliament the Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure of the Consolidated and Development Funds Financial Paper No. 2 of 2014/2015. The Minister has asked parliament, a plea which has since been granted, to adopt a P2 billion supplementary budget.

In the Westminster type of system like Botswana, parliament holds the ‘power of the purse’, that is to say it must sanction all expenditures, all borrowings from national, regional or international financial institutions, and all revenues to be collected by the government. In other words, parliament in a democracy has the power to amend or approve public money related Bills. Therefore, it is parliament that has to, authorise the supplementary budget.

There are a number of things that raise eyebrows about the supplementary budget in Botswana in general and the recent one presented by the Minister in particular. As stated above, the Minister has requested parliament to approve over P2 billion supplementary money for various ministries, government departments and agencies financial requirements. This amount is colossal. Ordinarily, supplementary budgets are meant for emergency cases and or unforeseen pressing financial needs. The problem is that there is failure by the government to operate within the originally allocated budget and this points to deterioration in the country’s budget discipline.

Editor's Comment
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