BY CEDRIC SWANKA
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is still optimistic of completing projects on time despite some setbacks experienced.
The ministry is currently overseeing projects ranging from local infrastructure development such as customary courts, constituency or community projects, housing and office accommodation.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Frans Van Der Westhuizen, when delivering to parliament, Committee of Supply speech, revealed that “During the financial year 2018/19, a total of 1,221 projects were approved for Constituency Community Projects with a budget of Five Hundred and Seventy Million (P570,000,000.00) for the 57 constituencies. Out of these only Forty Six (46) projects have been completed.”
Minister Van Der Westhuizen continued to reveal that “Slow take off of these projects is mostly attributable to an array of issues being change of the projects scope, delayed land acquisition, increased number of appeals by unsuccessful bidders and delayed disposal of appeals. The slow implementation of this Project is worrisome since some districts are still implementing the 2017/18 projects.”
Another project under the Ministry is said to have received over Twenty million Pula funding during the 2018/19 financial year, however its progress has also been hindered.
“For the 2018/19 financial year, funding of Twenty Million Pula (P20, 000, 000.000) was budgeted for construction of 16 Customary Courts offices to address shortage of office accommodation and improve working conditions of Dikgosi. The budget also catered for better quality designs reflective of cultural and customary courts offices in Molepolole, Maun and Mochudi. These projects are behind schedule primarily due to late procurement.” Minister Van Der Westhuizen said.
Also the Minister revealed that some planned projects during the soon to end 2018/19 projects, they have not met their target though some are yet to be completed.
“Of the 2,802 planned projects during the 2018/19 financial year, 349 have been completed while the rest are at different stages of implementation and are expected to be completed by end of the 2018/19 financial year.” He continued.
The Minister then presented his proposed budget for the financial year 2019/2020, which would comprise of a Recurrent and Development budget.
“The proposed 2019/2020 recurrent budget for my Ministry is Six Billion, Four Hundred and Twenty Eighty Million, One Hundred and Fifty Five Thousand, One Hundred and Twenty Pula (P6, 428,155,120.)” Minister Van Der Westhuizen revealed
“This reflects an increase of 2.31%. That is, One Hundred and Forty Five Million, Three Hundred and Fifty One Thousand, Seven Hundred Pula (P145, 351,700) more than last year’s budget.” He continued
If approved by Parliament, this proposed budget will result in the Department of local Government, finance and Procurement Services receiving the largest share of Four Billion, Four Hundred and Seventy Eight Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifty Pula (P4,478,722,250). Which is 69.67% of the total Ministerial budget.
The Minister proposed that Local Government Infrastructure Investment and Services receive; One Hundred and Ninety Two Million Pula (P192, 000,000.) Out of these funds, a total of One Hundred and Eighty Five Million Pula (P185,000,000) will be used for ongoing infrastructure projects at Gabane, Kang and Tutume villages respectively.
There will be projects on internal Roads and Storm Water drainage and a figure amounting to Seven Million Pula (P7,000,000.00) will be for the Feasibility Study of Gaborone Transfer Station and Sorting Centre.
The Minister continued to share other new improvements they hope to see implemented, he said “My Ministry proposes an increase of P50.00 monthly for Social Welfare Cash allowances for Destitute persons, People living with Disability, World War II Veterans and Village/Ward Development Committees while for Old Age Pensioners, the proposed monthly cash allowance be increased to P100.00.”
Social Welfare cash allowances fall under the department of Social protection, which the proposed budget for it stands at One Billion One Hundred and Sixty Five Million, Two Hundred and Eighty Nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Ten Pula (P1, 165,289,810), which is the second largest share.
Almost all projects under the Ministry are said to be ongoing and the Minister believes will be completed before the start of the 2019/2020 financial year.