Sunday, May 16, 2021

Moderate surplus expected as Matambo delivers budget speech

The financial year 2015/2016 will likely register a modest surplus while development budget will be skewed towards traditional culprits ministries as government moves to complete projectsÔÇösome of which are behind by six years.

Data has shown that total expenditure and net lending is projected at P51.46 billion in 2015/16 from the estimated P49.3 billion recorded in 2014/15.

Recurrent expenditure is expected to increase slightly to P38.995 billion, once again accounted for by the increase in personal emoluments while development expenditure is estimated to reach P12.6 billion.

Dr Grace Tabengwa Ag. Senior Research Fellow and Macroeconomist at Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) said she does not see government announcing new projects.
“I do not see that happening (new projects). I expect to see government maintaining existing infrastructure,” she said at Afena Capital Press Club meeting at Gaborone Sun.

The Ministry Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR) could be allocated the largest share of development budget with lions share going towards Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) Finances to cover BPC operational and other funds will go towards maintenance.

Ministry of Transport and Communications, Defence and Education are also normally large portions of the budget. The budget comes at a time when the public has lost trust in government’s ability to deliver key projects. There is currently shortage of electricity in the country because Morupule B is not yet functioning to capacity and Water Utilities Corporation faces its problems of reticulating water across the country.

The most embarrassing is the expansion of Sir Seretse Khama International airport that was meant to coincide with 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, but has since been surpassed by Brazil World Cup in 2010.

The Budget Strategy Paper for 2015/ 16 prepared by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning states that ‘as part of the solution to the problem of poor project implementation’; priority will be given to ‘prioritised’ project monitoring and evaluation as a critical success factor.

It said the National Strategy Office has been tasked to develop and implement a National Monitoring and Monitoring System for Botswana with the office and ministry facilitating measurement and reporting on the results.

“To this end, beginning financial year 2015/16 will see a rigorous monitoring and evaluation of projects reported in each financial year instead of being reported during NDP mid-term reviews,” stated the paper.

“The objective is to continually assess implementation progress of projects, by taking stock of progress made, constraints and challenges encountered in each financial year, with a view to inform mid-term reviews,” the paper added.

Forecast show that Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo will announce a moderate surplus of P1.3 billion when he presents 2015/2016 financial year next Monday.

“Despite the projected budget surplus in 2015/16, the net financial assets position remains negative, as a result of accumulated budget deficits from the financial crisis period,” argued Tabengwa.

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