Sunday, September 24, 2023

Masculinity playing a big role in Botswana’s budgeting

Botswana’s self-first assessment of its Gender Responsive Public Financial Management (GRPFM) has revealed how the country’s budget may be promoting hegemonic masculinity. In gender studies, hegemonic masculinity is defined as a practice that legitimizes men’s dominant position in society and justifies the subordination of women. The assessment report which was released last week by the Public Expenditure Financial Accountability (PEFA) Secretariat under the Ministry of Finance downgraded the country’s ranking on almost all nine GRPFM indicators.

This was a self-assessment report through the support of Botswana Government and USA Treasury-Office of Technical Assistance collaboration. It emerges from the report that “of the nine indicators for GRPFM, there are no As, only two Bs, three Cs and four Ds.” The report further states that, “the predominance of low C and D scores indicates that Botswana PFM systems are deficient in focusing on gender equity issues even though some initiatives have started.”

The authors of the report explained that the assessment considers the degree which gender equity issues are considered in planning the budget, presenting it to the Legislative body, reported in implementation and considered in ex-post evaluations and audits. “In general, the assessment shows that much progress remains to be made in making sure that the PFM system can assist in the budgeting for, implementation of, and reporting on programs that affect gender equity in the country,” the report says. According to the report, the result showed some weaknesses in coordination of the gender equality policies as the oversight appears not to be well-structured and the implementation of the budget is not producing well-structured data for tracking of gender mainstreaming across all service delivery centers.

The report, notes that some key weaknesses are: Budget Policy proposals which do not indicate the impact of policy changes on gender equity. Botswana also scored poorly on Gender impacts of public investment projects which are not fully tracked, reported upon or published. Other issues identified in the report include the annual budget circular, which does not request information on gender impacts in budget submissions and the Government Accounting and Budgeting System (GABS) which is not designed to provide accounting on the gender effects of spending, as it does not link budget estimates to policies or programmes.  “Legislative scrutiny of the budget or audits cannot focus on gender because that information is not systematically included in the documents provided to the legislative body and it also does not form part of Parliament Committees Agenda,” the report found. The report also found that existing frameworks are not designed to track gender mainstreaming across government; hence the government is not able to report on the impact and outcomes of policy changes or overall performance of the ongoing policies.

“Government major player in policy development and execution hence compromising execution as multi-tasking sometimes override objectivity, hence need more participation of the private sector and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs),” the report says. It also noted that there is limited research and general evaluation of the country performance on budget alignment to gender mainstreaming for Botswana.

“There are no adopted standard procedures for costing of policies hence the policy changes impacts are not fully addressed or directly linked to gender impact,” the report says. The report said proposed revenue policy changes are not presented in monetary values except for income tax adjustment bracket which is normally announced during annual Budget Speech. “The impact of revenue policy changes is not quantified in monetary or nonmonetary terms (except the expected inflow of the revenue which is sometimes disclosed), nor is the impact of the policy change calculated,” the report said. 

Said the report: For example, there was announcement of adjustment to corporate tax of 5% for Special Economic Zone Authority during 2020 (financial year 2020/21) budget speech and waiver on transfer duty on land and property was also introduced but the impact of the change was not quantified hence the impact on the revenue remained unknown.”  The limitations found during the assessment were; the area on gender analysis is not always completed and if completed it is not supported by any validated rates e.g. the percentage used is not guided by any standard nor any formula that can be verified for equitable share by sex. 


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