The Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organizations (BOCONGO) took a swipe at government for its continued exclusion and disregard of the civil society’s input in planning for the national budget.
Panelists at a BOCONGO organized budget discussion session in Francistown said that as a result the national budget continues to disregard the plight of the poor and low income earners. One of the panelists Lebogang Moeti said that planning for the budget should be a consultative process that involves the input of all other stakeholders.
“The civil society continues to make immense contributions to the national economy and should therefore be consulted when the budget is drafted. Government’s continued exclusion of the civil society is therefore undemocratic and unwarranted” he said.
He added that because of its lack of consultation, government has put in place wrong initiatives aimed at tackling poverty, citing government’s Ipelegeng program, which he said is not a solution to poverty as it only promotes a dependency syndrome.
“Inflation has been on the increase in the past two years, yet government has failed to increase public servants salaries” he said.
Moeti also slammed government’s decision to increase VAT saying that it will only serve to increase the effects of inflation and reduce the citizens’ buying power.
Another panelist representing the youth, Lesego Kwambala said that government’s efforts at youth empowerment are reversed by the continued failure to give the youth property rights.
“Property rights is a problem for the youth because one needs land to be an entrepreneur,” he said
Ditiro Mojadibodu who was also one of the panelists, pointed out that the disabled have long been marginalized and discriminated in society.
“The disabled are the most vulnerable to poverty in Botswana, yet they are repeatedly overlooked,” he said.