Barclays Bank Botswana interim Managing Director (MD), Aupa Monyatsi, says the national budget 2013-2014 is going to be a fairly cautious budget that shows a steady economic recovery, adding that the government is expected to somewhat continue with the fiscal consolidation to return the overall financial position to where the country was before the crisis.
“We are participants in the country’s economic recovery and we should, to this end, play a meaningful role to that effect. Barclays will continue to help people achieve their ambitions in the right way,” said Monyatsi.
The Barclays interim MD also pointed out that prudent financial management has been one of the greatest foundations for Botswana and it served well when the 2007 financial crisis hit.
“As the global economy recovers and prospects for diamond sales improve, the government, I believe will continue to balance, encouraging the local economy through responsible spending whilst balancing that with building reserves. Hence I expect a balanced budget, possible a modest surplus,” said Monyatsi.
From his observation, with improved diamond sales and positive performance by the non mining sector, the economic landscape has changed. He added that it is slightly positive. He also expects government to continue to spend more on development and development expenditure and added that it will thus have a good share of the budget.
“You would recall that against all odds government decided in the past not to stall development projects but rather use such projects to try to encourage economic recovery,” he said.
He pointed out that there will be a focus on productivity, efficiency and reducing reliance on government, adding that it is a welcome development for the private sector.
Monyatsi also said that the Barclays is optimistic that the US is on a growth path and signs are for economic momentum to continue to pick up. He added that the Eurozone, though more challenged, seems to be working hard to resolve its issues and achieve a more resilient, better union. He observed that Japan is showing stronger resolve to deal with economic issues that have plagued them for the last decade.
“Obviously, if another economic recession occurs, it will impact us from an export revenue point of view and, therefore, have a direct impact on domestic income hence alter the spending patterns of local consumers and ability to have access to credit,” said Monyatsi.
He noted that Botswana has a very robust regulatory environment that ensures that banks and other financial institutions remain resilient during tough economic times.