Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Finance Minister not excited by suggestions of constituency based development

Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo has said that a constituency development plan is not a solution to Botswana’s developmental needs.

The minister made this remark while contributing to a motion by South East South legislator Odirile Motlhale calling on government to consider introducing a constituency development fund to finance minor projects in all the 57 constituencies.

“What gap would the constituency development fund be filling?” questioned Matambo.

Matambo also questioned the wisdom of cutting a 5 percent of the development budget and dedicating it to the fund arguing that given its development model it was highly unlikely that government will agree to slash 5 percent of the development budget to fund small projects across constituencies.

“How do you distribute the 5%….am not quite sure whether the proposed development fund will address people’s concerns because developments are broad based,” said Matambo.

Motlhale is lobbying government to set up a constituency development fund and argues that because small projects in constituencies and wards do not lay themselves to central government funding, the fund could be utilised to assist in fencing of fields, sinking boreholes and other small developments at constituency level.

Matambo says that currently ministries propose development projects looking at people’s needs adding that he could not understand what the proposed fund will cater for.

He said that the whole idea could prove to be cumbersome in that government is going to have to hire manpower to administer the fund.

Motlhale has said that the main objective of the constituency development fund is to decentralise developments projects with a view to ensure that some projects at local level are carried out at community level.

The MP says that Botswana’s development system and implementation is flawed because it excludes the grassroots.

He said government’s approach does not necessarily reflect the needs and priorities of people in a given locality.

He said that a number of African countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria and Rwanda were looking to adopt the constituency development fund as another development model.

He said if accepted by government the idea would be governed by its on pieces of legislation and incumbent MPs would have no say towards the distribution of the funds.

He said the fund will be managed by a constituency devel0opment fund committee including the youth, elderly and other stakeholders in each given community.

“ Every constituency will receives funds whose exact amount is based on a formula that includes but is not limited to factors such as; population and size of the constituency as well as poverty levels in the concerned constituency. In Kenya for instance the CDF is 2.5% of the countries budget which will then be allocated to different constituencies using the criteria alluded to above. My proposal is to allocate 5% of the National budget to the fund, which will then be divided equally amongst the constituencies,” proposed Motlhale.

“The CDF is an example of what is generally referred to as Community Driven Development (CDD) initiatives that empower local communities by providing funds. These funds are often from the central government but sometimes come from donor sources.

CDF aims at redistributing national resources to the community to improve rural economy, alleviate poverty, create employment, and raise people’s standard of living,” he added.

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