Friday, September 25, 2020

Welfare dominates basic education budget

BY CEDRIC SWANKA

Over six billion Pula will be spent on salaries and personnel welfare of the Ministry of Basic Education – a proposed budget for the 2019/20 financial year indicates.

Making a presentation in Parliament last week, the Minister of Basic Education Bagalatia Arone shared on the consolidated and development funds estimates which stood around P8 billion. The proposed budget is to be dedicated to the ministry’s recurring and development budget.

Arone said: “Eight Billion, Two Hundred and Forty One Million, Three Hundred and Forty one thousand and One Hundred and Forty Pula (P8 241 341 140) or 92% is for Recurrent Budget while Seven Hundred and Forty Four Million Pula, (P744 000 000) or 8% is for Development Budget.”

“The largest proportion of the Ministry’s Recurrent Budget is allocated to Personnel Emoluments at 74.08% of the budget amounting to Six Billion One Hundred and Five Million, One Hundred and Thirty Seven Thousand and One Hundred and Ninety Pula (P6 105 137 190),” continued Arone.

If approved, the proposal will have a significant impact in wages and fees within the education sector. The Ministry has been  allocated Nine Hundred Nine Million Six Hundred and Seventy-Six Thousand Seven Hundred Seventy Pula which is 55.12% of budget.

Part of the Nine Hundred Million Pula Amount Five Hundred One Million Four Hundred and Eighty-Eight Thousand Five Hundred Twenty Pula will cater for personal emoluments for the Department of Corporate Services Staff.

The Department of Out of School Education and Training will experience significant changes as there has been an increase in the budget when compared to last year. Minister Arone shared that “the Department of Out of School Education and Training is allocated a budget of Eighty-Seven Million Four Hundred and Ninety-Seven Thousand Six Hundred Ninety Pula.”

“There has been an increase of 27.7% compared to the previous year’s budget of Sixty-Eight Million Five Hundred and Thirty-One Thousand Two Hundred And Ten Pula. The increase is attributable to the increase in Basic Salaries and In-Service Training Votes,” he continued.

Another increase proposed is for the Department of Teaching Service Management, where recurring issues of teacher payments are to be addressed.

Minister Arone said: “the Department of Teaching Service Management is allocated Five Billion Three Hundred and Forty-Eight Million Nine Hundred and Thirty-Three Thousand Seven Hundred Forty Pula or 64.90% of the Ministry’s budget.”

“There has been an increase of 4.73% compared to the previous year’s budget. The sum of Five Billion Two Hundred and Eighty-Six Million Eight Hundred and Forty-Seven Thousand One Hundred Eighty Pula (98.84%) of the budget, under this department is allocated to Personnel Emoluments mainly for payment of teachers’ salaries.” said Arone.

Other departments within the ministry saw a decrease in the recurrent budgets such as, the Department of Pre and Primary Education allocated over one hundred and ten million Pula decreased by four percent. This financial year the Department of Secondary Education has been allocated over one Billion Pula, a decrease by three percent.

Accompanying the proposed consolidated and development funds estimates, the Development budget will see the ministry extending Two Hundred and Twenty-Six Million and Eighty-Two Thousand Five Hundred Forty Pula to the Botswana Examinations Council.

“One Billion Nine Hundred Ten Million One Hundred and Twenty-One Thousand Four Hundred and Ten Pula is for other operational costs of the Ministry’s departments, regional offices, running of schools as well as the welfare of students, including their feeding, procurement of books, and payment of utilities,” Arone announced.

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