The assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Biggie Butale has called on the Government to scrap the much touted Ipelegeng programme alongside other poverty eradication projects sponsored by Government on “subsidies and handouts”, insisting the schemes were depleting the already scarce public coffers with no tangible returns.
Contributing to the 2018/19 budget debate on Thursday, Butale argued it will not be long for Botswana’s “vibrant” economy to go the route its peers went throughout the continent.
“That is the reason why I call for the scrapping of Ipelegeng to be replaced by private manufacturing companies with sustainable incomes and developments. These cutting of shrubs and trees along the roads cannot take us anywhere,” Butale said.
“These subsidies and handouts should be scrapped. These include the Youth Development Fund, Gender equality and Women’s Empowerment Fund and not least Ipelegeng just to name a few,” the junior Minister said adding that he is puzzled by the projects whose finances cannot be accounted for and labeling them “free money.”
“In the 21st century it is incredible we are spending like this with public money with these projects”, he noted, predicting “a period of 10 to 20 years to have joined other countries.”
By “other countries” Tati East Member of Parliament is certainly referring to the African countries especially neighbouring Zimbabwe whose economy is in tatters due fiscal imprudence amongst others.
The brainchild of President Khama, Ipelegeng and other poverty eradication initiatives have been the sacred cow for the ruling party MP’s hailing their success and developments during his tenure loudly and boldly in Kgotla meetings and on national television.
Khama exits the Presidency April 1st.
Presenting the budget speech Monday Minister of Finance and Economic Development Kenneth Matambo will cater for Ipelegeng programme an amount of P635 million.
All in all an amount of P2.25 Billion will be recommended for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the implementation of social programmes and village infrastructure projects Ipelegeng inclusive.
“Born with a diamond spoon in our mouths I believe we should change our work ethics and productivity levels before the current bonanza is dissipated,” the now defiant ruling party MP Butale concluded.