As part of the Financial Paper Number 3 of 2016/17, Parliament on Friday approved the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism’s request to be granted an additional P10 million.
Reading out details of the Financial Paper in Parliament on behalf of Finance and Economic Development Minister Kenneth Matambo, Nonofo Molefhi, Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, said that apart from an additional P12.3 million requested by the environment ministry for a shortfall in the 2016/17 salaries and allowances, it was also requesting an extra P10 million.
The money, it has since emerged, will be in turn passed on to the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) which it will it to pay for its share of the budget for its partnership with the International Travel Bourse (ITB).
The ITB has been described as the world leading travel trade show that was recently hosted in Berlin, German. Botswana was selected as the official partner for the ITB Berlin 2017 in early March 2016, becoming the first ever country from southern Africa for that position.
As a result of the partnership, mid this month, President Ian Khama, together with his brother, Tshekedi Khama, who is Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, led an entourage from Botswana to this year’s International Travel Bourse.
When presenting his budget proposal at the Supply Committee of Parliament recently, Tshekedi said: “The promotional campaign for the current year culminated in a spectacular showing at ITB Berlin, Germany, where Botswana was the partner country and through this unique positioning gained high value exposure across five continents; 187 countries and 200 000 visitors.”
At the time of the signing and first announcement of the partnership, Tshekedi said that the participation of Botswana as a partner at the trade show would enhance international awareness of the country as an investment and tourism destination. This year’s expo is said to have attracted over 187 countries.
Meanwhile, Parliament was informed that the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism’s P12.3 million shortfall in the salaries and allowance account was due to the 3 percent salary adjustment that was effected at the beginning of the 2016/17 financial year.
“The shortfall is also necessitated by the increased number of officers who became eligible for scarce skills allowance”, Molefhi said on Friday.