Parties Fail to Address Economic Issues

| November 6, 2014 | 0 Comments

With general elections over and the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) once again in government, E-Consult says all parties that contested the elections failed to provide clear economic paths.

The consultants, in their quarterly review, said political parties highlighted unemployment, poverty and inequality, but none of them came up with a coherent plan on how to deal with these issues.

E Consult of Dr Keith Jeffries, Ms Bogolo Kenewendo and Mr Thabelo Nemaorani said in the statement that many of the election promises included unrealistic commitments for ever-greater spending. The 2014 general elections were contested by the BDP, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and independent candidates.

“Over the past few years, politicians have often stated that certain development projects could not proceed because of recession and aerse economic circumstances affecting the government budget. Sometimes with a commitment, the politicians said the project would proceed once economic circumstances improved.”

The economic analysts say while this may be a good way of deflecting pressure for excessive project spending, it may also generate expectations that cannot be filled.

Another issue they say is the need to diversify exports and attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This was also not addressed during the election campaign and “indeed all of the parties seemed more concerned with import substitution than promoting exports.”

The analysts said that none of the parties took time to adequately address pertinent economic issues, which is most disappointing especially during the highly publicized pre-election debates.

As the elections are now over, attention will not turn to the development and finalization of the National Development Plan 11 (NDP 11) to run from 2016 to 2022 and the post-Vision 2016 document.

“With the election out of the way, the government will have to ensure that these are completed quickly, but in a way that coherently addresses key economic and social issues,” they stated.

Amongst the immediate issues government is to contend with is the 201516 National Budget to be presented in February next year.

The government has introduced a new Fiscal Rule that commits government to allocate 40 per cent of mineral revenue to financial savings.

E-Consult economics say the Fiscal Rule was good in principle and long overdue. However, this means the government will need to run large budget surpluses to finance the proposed savings adding there also need to be hard and fast rules regarding drawdowns.

The government has also stated its intention to improve the screening and selection of development projects, such that only those yielding positive economic returns will be financed and E-Consultant notes that if this commitment is adhered to, some of the projects being called for NDP 11 will not pass the test.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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