Parliament convened to hear as to how the country’s coffers will be distributed among different ministries for the benefit of Batswana. There are some major challenges that are facing this country which can be attributed to corruption and misuse of funds by the state and its agencies. We expect a full account of the expenses and the revenue of the country from Ms. Peggy Serame and to see issues of concern being prioritized.
In the previous year, Ms. Serame had alluded that there shall audit ministries in attempts to nip corruption at the bud and ensure that there is efficient use of state funds by different ministries and organizations. Before any allocation of funds, we wish to see Ms. Serame sensitizing the nation on how many ministries were audited, by which body and what was the outcome of the audit. The audit process is an imperative one as a lay Motswana can easily see the abuse of state funds done by the different government offices and the ministry of finance seems to look the other way every time and fail to hold them accountable. With the country already running on a deficit it is about time the tax payer’s money is accounted for.
There have been a number of projects that were enacted last year, and some were enacted in the previous year which are unending and the government continues to fund them. There are quite a number of water projects going on around the country and some have been going on for years and they still fail to bear fruit as a significant number of places around the country have been deprived of water for years. This problem is no longer just affecting the rural areas but has now started affecting prime areas of the country including Gaborone. We therefore seek to hear clarity from the honorable minister as to how much has already been spent on the projects and how much more are they willing to pump into these projects and when will they be completed. Further, we expect to see a bigger portion of the tax payers’ money being dedicated to the procurement of medicinal supplies and the betterment of state owned medical facilities. There has been a shortage of medicinal supplies in most if not all state owned clinics and hospitals leading to some succumbing to ailments that could have been easily been managed through antibiotics. With the state owned hospitals
and clinics falling apart and lacking the basics of a care health care facility, we are anticipating a part of the budget to address the increment of doctors and to furnish the clinics and hospitals with hospital beds e.t.c.
With the recently released JCE results, we are looking to the government to map out a plan for these children and ensure that they are not left to be idle in the streets and end up resorting to becoming the criminals. There is a need to further address issues surrounding the Ministry of Education, which include the lack of stationery for student especially in rural areas, lack of staff housing for teachers, failure to pay teaching staff and a plethora of other problems surrounding the ministry and basic education alike. The women’s league of the Botswana National Front wishes to reiterate that they fully support the increment of student allowances to meet the harshness of the current economic climate. It appears that the Masisi led government deprive pleasure from the hiking of prices which unfortunately affect others more than they do others and therefore a stretch in the government budget to accommodate an incremement would suffice.
Botswana is currently experiencing a great shortage of food. There is ample arable land in certain areas of Botswana which we are of the stance that the government can invest in to deal with the shortage of basic food that has been noted across the country. It is about time the government took to prioritizing agricultural projects which are not aimed at home consumption but for commercial use to help in attaining food self-sufficiency and economic growth. Further, we wish to express grave disappointment in how the tourism sector Botswana is mismanaged to a point where it remains stagnant and doesn’t bear much revenue for the country as it potentially could. We wish to see a significant amount set aside to assist people in prime tourist areas such as Kasane and Maun grow their business and turn them into streams of revenue for the government. The Bamangwato Concession Limited (BCL) mine was abruptly closed in 2016 and till date, there is slow economic activity in the town of Selibe Phikwe and the town is dying a slow death. It is imperative for Ms. Serame to touch on how they intend on uplifting the economic activity in that mining town if at all they do not intend to reopen the BCL mine. Further, with increase in crime rates, there is a need for the armed forces to be given a budget sufficient to afford them necessary resources to combat crimes
committed. Botswana is slowly turning into a gangster hub and there is a need to reinforce on the country’s security.
When we come to terms with reality, there are a lot of problems facing this country, we however hope for levelheadedness, rationality and patriotism in the budget speech. We expect the selfish interests of the Botswana Democratic Party to take a back seat and for once, deal with Batswana in good faith.
Katlo DitshotloBNFWL Publicity Secretary
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