Thursday, September 28, 2023

Armsgate: BDF figures do not add up

If the numbers do not add up, truth is probably missing from the equation. Botswana Defence Force (BDF) this week suggested that the more than P40 billion it is spending on military hardware is surplus from the National development 10 provision, Sunday Standard investigations can however reveal that the army has used up the money is was allocated under the plan period.

Responding to Sunday Standard’s last week’s front page lead story under the headline “Batswana defrauded through hidden cost of BDF/DISS procurements” the BDF this week stated: “It is regrettable to note that the newspaper elected to ignore information such as to note that BDF’s priority areas are being carried forward from the National Development 10 to National Development 11. The signing of procurement contracts is based on either short or long term basis, which enables payments to be spread over multiple fiscal years. National Development Plan periods are government instruments of procuring programmes which are an amalgamation of projects. This fashion of budgeting and procurement is elementary and the newspaper is surely aware of this. It is therefore disheartening for the newspaper to fail dismally in differentiating between the budget allocated for a single fiscal year and long term funding as contained in the government National Development plan (see letter on page 11).

Sunday Standard investigations have however revealed that the BDF has used up its budget allocation under NDP 10 and there is nothing to carry over to NDP 11. Botswana’s National development Plan ran from 2010 to 2016 and BDF allocations under the plan period were spread over the six years.

In 2010, while still under the State President, the BDF was allocated P 1 872 252 690 but ended up spending P 1 897 099 971 overspending by P 6 847 281 which is 0.4%.

In 2011, the BDF was moved to the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security and their budget allocation was P1 861 434 660 but ended up spending P1 836 390 027, under spending by P25 044 633 or 1% which is less than their over expenditure for the previous year.

Sunday standard could not raise official BDF expenditure figure for 2012, figures  however unofficial figures from Defence magazine puts the figure in the same bracket as the past two years.

In 2013 BDF was allocated P 2 018 723 258 but ended up spending P 2 017 439 651 under spending by P 1 283 607 or 0.06 percent. The combined under expenditure of 2011 and 2013 is however less that their over expenditure figure for 2010.

In 2014, the BDF was allocated P 2 039 00 4 711 but ended up spending P 2 061 357 866 overspending by P22 353 155.

For the financial year ended March 2015, the BDF was allocated P 2 682 865 410 but ended up spending P 2 448 218 051 under spending by P 194 647 359 or 7 percent.

The surplus from NDP 10 comes to around P100 million and does not explain the about P40 billion which has already been committed in the purchase of anti ÔÇô aircraft batteries and Piranha Armoured vehicles and turrets. The money has not been approved by government. The Sunday Standard has turned up information that BDF suppliers have been raising loans on behalf of the army to finance the procurement without going through parliament.


Read this week's paper