Tuesday, May 17, 2022

As it is Parliament has approved a budget for ministries that no longer exist

Once again we wish government well in their renaming of ministries.

It is not an easy task.

And we take it that it is a result of research rather than just knee-jerk reaction.

On Thursday evening the president made a prime time national address on state television.

Primarily the speech was to announce the renaming of ministries.

The ministries have been increased in number.

Others have been streamlined.

In effect other than developments at the Ministry of Finance not much should be read into the whole arrangement.

We should wait and see what comes of the whole rearrangement of furniture.

We welcome the changes so far as they are intended to bring efficiency.

Governance is not an easy thing.

It involves ongoing experiments.

We however note a serious oversight in governance in that parliament has just passed a budget for ministries that no longer exist.

It cannot be said that Botswana government, much less the State presidency was not aware that the budget was being passed for ministries that would not be alive a few days down the line.

This is a serious governance mistake.

It is also not clear why the president decided to talk about Banyana Farms, not least because the point is totally misplaced  in the speech other than that it is intended to create a wrong impression.

Our view is that any reference to Banyana Farms soiled what was supposed to be a nation uniting speech.

The history of Banyana Farms is well known. Taking away the farms from Botswana Development Corporation and giving those farms to Government and or dissolving the company should not be a big issue that finds its way into a national address by the president.

We have no intention to address it here, save to highlight the extent to which the whole undertaking is visibly sloppy and unconvincing.

Botswana Government is entirely correct to keep trying to adjust the public service.

We hope once again that all this is done with the best of faiths – firstly to improve efficiency, but also to cut on excesses that undermine productivity.

An overhaul of the ministries is long overdue.

In fact the renaming of the ministries in the last government tended to be unwieldly.

President Masisi has restored a couple of the ministries to what they used to be.

We have no quarrel with that.

We noted that the word Reset, which is a fundamental component of the president’s policy agenda appears no more than two times, at most.

It’s too early to say if the gesture by government will bear the results.

But we hope it is not just for the sake of it.

A leaner government can still deliver miracles.

And we look forward to that.

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