Government said it is changing the way it manages projects in an effort to avoid wastage and allow resources to be utilised in other public works. This follows delays in execution of major projects including Morupule B Power Project, Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, National Stadium, Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) to mention only a few.
The Budget Strategy Paper for 2015/ 16 prepared by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning states that ‘as part of the solution to the problem of poor project implementation’; priority will be given to ‘prioritised’ project monitoring and evaluation as a critical success factor.
“To this end, beginning financial year 2015/16 will see a rigorous monitoring and evaluation of projects reported in each financial year instead of being reported during NDP mid-term reviews,” stated the paper.
“The objective is to continually assess implementation progress of projects, by taking stock of progress made, constraints and challenges encountered in each financial year, with a view to inform mid-term reviews,” the paper added.
According to the Finance ministry, enforcing such strict monitoring and evaluation system at policy and appraisal level will ensure value for money in the implementation of projects and programmes.
It said the National Strategy Office has been tasked to develop and implement a National Monitoring and Monitoring System for Botswana with the office and ministry facilitating measurement and reporting on the results.
The paper also raised concerns of the need to provide for adequate maintenance of existing infrastructure to ensure its productivity and durability.
Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Johnnie Swartz said at Airport Junction Shopping Centre Builders Expo recently that there are opportunities in the area of refurbishment, rehabilitation and maintenance of public facilitiesÔÇöan area which government admitted has been neglected as focus moved to new developments.
“We are now faced with mammoth task of turning this situation around and we will also need partnership with the private sector to augment limited financial resources,” the minister revealed.
Government has over the year given priority to maintenance of existing infrastructure and this has to continue to ensure that existing infrastructure is kept in good standards to support growth.
“It is therefore important to carefully make choices between critical new projects and existing ones as well as to ensure that these are adequately catered for in terms of recurrent costs and planned development expenditures,” the paper revealed.
“As part of the solution to getting value for money from new projects, government will be strengthening its project selection criteria by promoting clearly defined project cost-benefit analysis at the project appraisal stage”.
The paper revealed that an in-house training of planning officers in project appraisal has started within the ministry in an effort to build capacity.