The leader of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Duma Boko this week fired a salvo at the Minister of Finance, Development and Planning, Kenneth Matambo for failing to provide answers on the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP).
Ever since it was launched last year at a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) special congress in Gaborone there’s been no concrete information as to how much money government is going to use. According to Boko what the government did is “cruel, irresponsible and fraudulent.” In the budget speech Matambo described the ESP as a strategy for boosting growth, promoting economic diversification and creating jobs.
He said ESP is aimed at supporting domestic economic activities in the short term, while providing foundation for sustainable growth path for the economy in the long term through investment in infrastructural development.
Leader of Opposition retorted that they still do not know how much the government intends to spend on the ESP, and how many jobs it expects to save or create. “We find this arrogant, disrespectful to parliament and the people, and completely at odds with responsible governance,” he said adding that there is a need for serious dialogue on the direction of the economy because piecemeal initiatives skirt the problem of unemployment.
Boko said that government sold the (ESP) as a bold programme to resuscitate the economy and that it is naïve to think that injection of cash into a stagnating economy could somehow engineer an economic boom. Boko said it was fraudulent for ministers and legislators to urge Batswana to register firms in preparation for the ESP.
“We will not create enough jobs fast enough to absorb the growing pool of skilled and unskilled youths unless we accept that unemployment in Botswana is structural, what we need is a serious dialogue on the direction of the economy and on jobs,” said Boko. In his speech on performances of Parastatals in the year 2014/2015 Matambo said they had shown mixed performances.
Boko responded that parastatals are experiencing outrageous levels of corruption and mismanagement. He attributed political interference as an example and said that parastatals have become sources of linkages in government. He described mismanagement and corruption as twin evils in afflicting parastatals and that there is an urgent need to address the matter urgently through the adoption of governance practices.