PARLIAMENT – Presidential Affairs Minister, Eric Molale has requested a cumulative P400 million for the controversial poverty eradication programme as well as the Directorate of intelligence and Security Services (DISS).
Presenting his ministerial budget proposal this past week, Molale said that an amount of P200, 000,000 is requested to continue the Poverty Eradication Programme which was introduced by President Ian Khama a few years back.
“These funds will be used for initiatives such as the implementation of alternative packages, training workshops, completion of the agro-processing and packaging plant, and the establishment of incubation centers for alternative packages as well as provision of decent housing for poor families. Of priority will be the eradication of the backlog and acceleration of training in vocational and entrepreneurial skills.”
The poverty eradication programme has however been labeled “useless” by opposition members of Parliament. In November last year, Wynter Mmolotsi of Francistown South and Gaborone North’s Haskins Nkayigwa dismissed government’s poverty eradication projects as nothing more than a campaign tool used by the ruling party to buy votes, adding that the projects cost government a lot of money with very little return on investment.
The two MPs backed Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Phillip Makgalemele into a tight corner as he battled to refute their assertion that government’s poverty eradication initiatives are not bearing fruit because the returns on investment are not commensurate with the millions that are pumped into the projects. Makgalemele explained that 1,169 people had benefitted from government’s poverty eradication programs in Gaborone, with the Gaborone South constituency having the highest number of beneficiaries at 498. 244 people benefitted from the project in Gaborone North, 81 in Gaborone Central, 198 in Gaborone Bonnington North and 157 in Gaborone Bonnington.
Meanwhile Molale also requested an approval of two Hundred and Six Million, Six Hundred and Forty Thousand Pula (P206, 640,000) for the Directorate of intelligence and security (DIS).
Molale said the approval of the said money is necessary as continuous improvements in organisational infrastructure and operational tools/instruments of the DIS is vital in the integration and coordination of initiatives aimed at safeguarding national security.
“As such it is critical to continue improvements and investment in capital projects in this area. It is in that regard that I request P206, 640,000 for the implementation of various development projects during the 2016/17 financial year. These projects include various infrastructure developments, improvements in communication network and acquisition of mobile platforms.”