Friday, December 4, 2020

Covid 19 makes another ‘hit & run’ on the national budget

The endless list of major events that have been either cancelled or postponed due to the COVID 19 pandemic continues to grow each passing month. The latest COVID 19 hit, made at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is on the annual Budget Pitso. The annual event, which is part of the national budget calendar, is usually held each August every year.

Fenny Letshwiti – Head of Public Relations at the Finance Ministry this week confirmed that in compliance with the COVID-19 health protocols, the Ministry will not have the annual Budget Pitso.

“The Ministry will however explore other avenues to consult all the relevant stakeholders. This is because by nature, the Budget Pitso attracts a large number of stakeholders and this would invariably pose the risk of violating health protocols”, said Letshwiti.

Letshwiti said that due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the government has not been able to reach out to a wider audience for consultation relating to the 2021/22 national budget and consequently may miss identifying key opportunities that will ultimately assist in making informed decisions regarding the budget process.

“The Ministry has been proactive in ensuring that it reaches out to the key stakeholders by leveraging on technology e.g. the Ministry website, Call Circulars etc. We are of the view that consultation is a useful constructive exercise in promoting understanding and effective communication among stakeholders and as such any noble idea on how the Ministry can improve on this is most welcome”, Letshwiti said.

The annual budget Pitso has also been used to distribute and discuss contents of the draft Budget Strategy Paper (BSP). BSP is a fiscal document prepared by the Finance Ministry, which contains figures for the country’s preliminary budget outturn for the just ended financial year and key projections for the incoming year.

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