Budget Under Pressure

Business & Finance

Competing needs have put the national budget under pressure, eroding the government’s ability to heed every call for salary increment.

However, President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Kama said government would do what it could afford to address the need for bettering remuneration for different sectors of the economy.

Responding to a request by Moralane Village Development Committee (VDC) chairperson in the Shoshong constituency during a kgotla meeting on January 29, President Khama said the issue of increment of remuneration was not peculiar to VDCs as employees of other sectors also wanted their earnings to be increased.

The VDC chairperson had requested the President to consider increasing their allowances. President Khama explained that government was still riddled with the backlog of some development projects, which were deferred as a result of the economic recession.

These projects, he said, had to be carried out as the economy was showing some signs of recovery. Also, he said during the recession, government went out to borrow money to shield Batswana from the impact of the economic down turn and the country was now faced with the task of clearing the debt.

The public servants, destitute persons, elders, among others also wanted their earnings to be increased, he said, adding that government would do what it could afford to carry out the mammoth task as it was difficult to satisfy everyone.

Responding to the residents’ request for their road to be tarred, President Khama told them that he had instructed the relevant ministry to come up with a list of all requests regarding the issue. The list, he said though not complete, needed about P6 billion to be carried out.

He reminded them that at present, a one kilometre road needed about P4 million to P5 million to be improved from gravel to bitumen standard excluding the designs. He said this therefore meant a 16 kilometre road between Moralane and Mosolatshane would need about P75 million to be tarred excluding designs which might increase the budget to around P100 million.

On other issues, the President said in 2008 when his term began, he made a commitment to see all the villages having a government vehicle that would make it easier for activities to be carried out, but his efforts were slowed down by the recession. He consequently assured the residents that vehicles would be bought for villages which were left behind during this financial year.

However, emphasising the need to improve the MosolotshaneMoralane road, the area MP, Mr Phillip Makgalemele observed that the region contributed immensely to the economy of Botswana as most of the farms were located in the area, therefore a tarred road would benefit Batswana at large.

He suggested that if improving the road to a bitumen standard was expensive, government should consider using interlocking bricks which would be moulded in the area by his constituents to reduce costs.

This project could be kick-started with the help of government, said Mr Makgalemele who is also Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Assistant Minister.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Kgosi Keoganne Mosadipodi of Moralane aocated for the construction of houses for public servants in his village. He also asked government to help his community in fencing and restocking the farm they were allocated in 2004.

VDC chairperson on the other hand requested that their health post be upgraded to a clinic with a maternity ward. He also complained about the delay in rolling out some of government programmes such as LIMID.

Regarding upgrading Moralane health post to a clinic, Minister of Health, Ms Dorcas Makgatho said it was the intention of government to upgrade health posts, but said the move was hampered by lack of funds.

“We can only do that upon the total recovery of the economy,” she said adding that currently Moralane health post was not in the National Development Plan (NDP) 10 but might be considered in the NDP 11. As for the services of a midwife, she said arrangements were made for her to visit the clinic through the out rich programme.

Ms Makgatho said in future her ministry would make plans to allocate two nurses for a health post, one a midwife who would be permanently stationed in the health post.

On the subject of water, Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Mr Kitso Mokaila felt that the 75 000 litres water reservoir in Moralane was enough to satisfy the community.

He said what concerned him was that they had connected the village with seven pre-paid standpipes, but today none of them was working.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News