Botswana Democratic Party MPs are worried that the much hyped Economic Stimulus Package is all talk and no action and might cost the party the 2019 elections ÔÇô this emerged during a recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting.
BDP Member of Parliament for Tati West Biggie Butale expressed concern with the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology delays in implementing ESP projects.
The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology was represented by Dikagiso Mokotedi as the Accounting Officer.
Butale pointed out that ESP projects were supposed to have started last year but up to now Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology is still working on a short list of Construction Companies.
“From there you will be going through a tendering process and after that the Ministry would be awarding projects, mind you we are almost in 2017. I see a scenario where the implementation of ESP projects start in 2018 and 2019 is the general election. There will be nothing to point to our electorates to say during our term in office, this is what we have achieved as Members of Parliament and representatives of the people in Parliament,” said Butale.
As Politicians, Butale said they want to see what developments were brought during their term in office, “what is being done to improve turnaround time in your Ministry?” asked Butale.
Butale went further to condemn the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology for awarding tenders to foreign companies.
“I am speaking as a politician because one of the reasons why my Party, the BDP, performed badly in the 2014 general elections is because people were saying this government is giving tenders to the foreigners instead of Batswana,” said Butale.
He wants the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology to be biased when awarding tenders and give priority to construction companies owned by Batswana.
“You know I don’t believe in these ideas that because Batswana had never undertaken big projects they can’t deliver. It is still the same; these foreign construction companies do shoddy work and leave the country. Let Batswana do that shoddy work so that we live with it, not when money has gone to foreigners,” said Butale.
. “Let’s give Batswana jobs, let’s them be given the opportunity,” he said.
It has also surfaced that since 2012 the Department of Building and Engineering Services (DBES) in the Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology has been operating without a Director, Deputy Director and other senior officials.
It should be noted that these are key positions within the Department of Building and Engineering Services; they are responsible for driving all government developments. Their absence directly affects the delivery of projects. Accounting officer in the Ministry, Mokotedi said they have advertised these positions even internationally but nobody is interested. He blamed lack of interest on the lower salaries his Ministry is offering.
Research that can help in diversifying of the economy is also said to be lacking behind. According to Mokotedi this is due to the economic situation. The Ministry has financial constraints in the research area.