| February 5, 2016

An estimated P2.2 billion is projected to be spent on the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) during the 2016/17 financial year. Speaking during the budget review session sponsored by First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB), the secretary for economic affairs in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Dr Taufila Nyamadzabo said about P1.43 billion was spent during the 2015/16 financial year.

The ESP has become the government’s flagship programme aimed at boosting economic growth, promoting economic diversification and employment creation.

Dr Nyamadzabo said the government was faced with either cutting expenditure in pursuit of a balanced budget or running a deficit. For the 2016/17 financial year, the national budget carries a deficit of P6.06 billion with total revenues and grants totaling P48.4 billion with expenditure estimated at P54.4 billion.

Dr Nyamadzabo said the expenditure cut would worsen growth in the economy hence the need for a stimulus programme. He said running a deficit meant financing it through a combination of domestic and external borrowing coupled with some drawing down of government savings. He said the implementation of ESP would be done over a period of three years, “but not at the expense of fiscal sustainability in the medium term.” According to the budget speech, most of the money would be spent through the development budget.

The projects to be undertaken by the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security include construction of police stations at Mmathubudukwane, Maitengwe and Semolale and staff houses across the country. About P257 million has been proposed for the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources for rural electrification. The Ministry of Transport and Communications has been allocated P250 million for road projects to be undertaken under ESP.

As for the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, P440.35 million is proposed to be spent on the construction of teachers’ houses, classrooms and laboratories.

The Ministry of Agriculture is to receive P35 million to cater for grey water re-use, Lotsane irrigation project, Glenn Valley infrastructure rehabilitation, grading of roads and Agricultural Service Centre. About P272.9 million is to be allocated to the Ministry of Lands and Housing to accelerate ongoing projects while the Ministry of State President is to receive a proposed amount of P50 million for ESP projects.

The finance minister said youth owned construction companies and individual youths with vocational skills in maintenance should be given priority in the implementation of the ESP through the Youth Empowerment Reservation Programme.

The minister said 15% of minor maintenance budget of government facilities has been reserved for youth companies and youth with vocational skills in construction.
Many people welcomed the ESP, saying improvement in infrastructure would help boost business confidence as well as the economy. (BOPA)


Category: News

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