Tax payers will spend more on ensuring that President Ian Khama travels in luxury than in ensuring the security of Batswana.
President Ian Khama’s new plane is to cost the taxpayer over P240 million which is almost double the P132 million allocated to the Botswana Police Service under the development budget.
The amount of money that will be spent on the presidential jet is even more than the development budget allocation for the
Colleges of Education project which is P 171million.
This comes at a time when the country has had to freeze civil service salaries because the country’s budget is in deficit due to the international financial crisis.
Presidential Affairs Minister, Daniel Kwelagobe, told parliament on Wednesday that the price of the new presidential jet, which is yet to be delivered, cost US $47.5 million, or P 237.5 million at 2006 prices.
“This amount will remain the same in US dollars but may vary in Pula terms depending on the Pula/US dollar exchange rates when final payment is made,” he said.
Botswana, which is the world’s largest diamond producer, is faced with the worst fall in rough diamond prices which, according to some independent estimates, might be as high as 63 percent during the course of this year.
The move is prompted by the global financial crisis which is the worst since World War II.
The rough diamond industry accounts for 33 percent of the GDP and over 70 percent of the country’s exports.
Last year alone, the Pula currency depreciated against the US dollar by 28 percent which was the biggest depreciation against a basket of currencies that the Pula is linked to. The basket includes the Japanese Yen, British Sterling Pound, the Euro, the South African rand and SDR.
Kwelagobe further told parliament that there has been a delay in the delivery of the Presidential jet which was due to have been delivered in May 2009 but is now scheduled to be delivered in June.
Further, he said the President will be bought an executive camping caravan that will cost government about P 2 million as part of the “benefits accruing to a president”.
“The purpose of the caravan/mobile home is to provide accommodation for His Excellency the President when traveling around the country,” he added.
Khama will be the first Botswana president to be bought an executive camping caravan. The caravan and the expansion of his fleet will cost the tax payers P 3 million.