April 4 2010: Government spends in excess of P5 million to build a single housing unit for cabinet ministers.
This was revealed by the Minister of Lands and Housing, Nonofo Molefhi, when responding to a question posed by the Member of Parliament for Selebi-Phikwe West, Gilson Saleshando, who wanted to know how much government spends in constructing housing units for cabinet ministers.
“Phase 1 of the eight ministerial houses cost government a total of P5 293 336, 98 per house which translates to P42 346 695, 80 inclusive of VAT and all fees, for all the eight houses,” he said.
Molefhi also revealed that Phase 2 of the project, which also involves eight houses, is currently ongoing at a total cost of P4 897 031, 07 per house, which translates to a total P39, 176 248, 54, inclusive of VAT and fees.
“The ministerial houses have adopted similar plans to those of high court judges’ houses in Lobatse,” he concluded.
Government has had to source money externally to fund other development projects like the Kasane airport expansion and the Morupule B expansion project. Molefhi’s revelation drew criticism from opposition MPs, who castigated government for sliding the country’s economy into financial abyss by not being financially prudent and sourcing loans from outside instead of engaging local financial institutions.
“I am afraid this country is quickly sliding into indebtedness. We are currently obtaining loans from outside, and our leadership is not walking the talk on cost reduction, as they are busy splashing money in purchasing jets, caravans, lavish ministerial houses, and unnecessary constituency leagues when many Batswana languish in poverty,” said Gaborone Central MP, Dumelang Saleshando.
He was responding to a bill that sought permission from parliament for government to obtain a loan from ARAB Bank for Economic Development in Africa to fund the Kasane airport expansion project.
Estimated at P54, 200 542, the BADEA loan supplements the P67, 750 678 obtained from the OPEC Fund for International Development. The whole project is estimated at P180 million, and government will pay for the balance.
But Molefhi has dismissed the opposition MPs’ complains saying that the construction projects should not raise alarm as they are not the first of their kind in Botswana.