Thursday, June 20, 2024

Matsheka to spend more on BDF than fighting Covid-19

Botswana plans to commit more money to arming the Botswana Defece force than fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, documents passed to the Sunday Standard have revealed.

The leaked document has revealed that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Thapelo Matsheka has budgeted more money for the Ministry of defence and security than the Ministry of Health and Wellness, which is currently leading the fight against  COVID-19 cases. 

The document shows that Botswana will not benefit from the peace dividend, instead the defence and security sector will be the major beneficiary of the P65 billion 2021/22 budget to be presented in Parliament tomorrow (Monday).

According to an expenditure estimate sheet that details government’s spending priorities for the 2021/22 financial year beginning March 2022 which has been passed to the Sunday Standard, the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security will receive the second largest share of the national budget after the Ministry of Basic Education . The Ministry will receive PP8 390 415 480 while the Ministry of Health and Wellness will receive P7 895 464 140.

The document shows that the Ministry of Basic Education will receive the biggest share as an amount of P9 524 302 570.  Other notable Ministries which will be allocated large some of funds are Local government (7 137 157 770) and Tertiary Education (P4 602 662 130). 

Meanwhile the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development which is responsible for preparing the national budget and allocation of funds to various ministries and government departments has issued a savingram to ministries and departments to cut down on expenditure as COVID-19 takes its toll on the economy. 

In one of the memos dated 25 January addressed to the Court of Appeal Judges and copied to the Chief Justice, President of Court of Appeal and Deputy Manager, Procurement Division, Chief Registrar Michael Motlhabi states that “Pursuant to the current budgetary challenges and on advice of the Ministry of Finance and Development and Economic Development, the following measures amongst others will be implemented between now and the end of the Financial year 2020/2021.” 

According to Motlhabi, “There will be no replenishment of refreshments for the Executive Cadre (E2 salary scale and above).” 

He further stated that all meetings, interviews, seminars, workshops, conferences receptions, retreats, annual ceremonies, hospitality events should be conducted virtually, which should save the costs of securing venues, conference facilities and meals or refreshments. 

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