Finance and Development Planning minister Kenneth Matambo has pleaded with ministries to limit making requests for additional funding through supplementary budgets during the course of the year.
He observed that such conduct could gradually worsen the financial situation. “The fiscal outlook is a cause for concern, given the modest growth prospects for the domestic economy, I therefore call upon ministries to exercise restraint in requesting for additional funding,” said Matambo when delivering the 2016/17 Budget Speech on Monday.
As an alternative, the minister encouraged Batswana to broaden their minds in becoming more accountable to the development of the country. He said the growth of the country is a matter of social responsibility and not of government alone. “It is the responsibility of both the public service and the private sector to deliver on programmes and policies aimed at inclusive growth,” advised the minister. The latest estimates from Statistics Botswana indicate that, the domestic economy declined by 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2015 compared to a growth rate of 3.2 percent recorded in 2014.
Matambo indicated that the mining sector which weakened by 14.0 percent in 2015 as a result of reduced production of diamonds was a sole contributor to the deficit of the local economy. He also said that the water and electricity sector registered a fall of 104 percent that could be pinned to the power crisis the country has been facing.
Non mining sectors are also expected to have taken a fall during the year following the power and water predicament. “Growth in other non mining sectors is also estimated to slow down during the year,” he said alluding that this would be a reflection of the effect of water and electricity shortages on domestic economic activities.
However the recovery of the domestic economy is expected in 2016 and 2017 with growth rates projected to be 4.2 percent and 4.3 percent underpinned by the recovery of both the mining and non-mining sectors.