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Budget speech reactions from Batswana

05 Feb 2019

Every time the Minister of Finance and Economic Development delivers the annual budget speech, Batswana from all walks of life hold their breath in anticipation of positive prospects for the economy.

As is the case each year during the delivery of the speech, and also owing to the limited space in the public gallery in parliament, a special sitting arrangement is made for the public to partake of parliament proceedings.

This year, as is tradition, some Batswana made time to go to Parliament to listen to Minister Kenneth Matambo as he delivered the budget allocations for the 2019/20 financial year.

While they listened in palpable silence for the majority of the time during which the speech was being read out, a few interjected here and there, at times with just sighs and nodding of the head.

It was only until the minister reached the part of the speech on public service salaries that many of the people in the tent for the general public became more animated; their reaction showing how the issue of public salary increments was close to their hearts.

Just as Minister Matambo wrapped up his speech, having given no specific threshold at which government would up salaries for public officers, one elderly man rose to his feet and moved from one person to the next asking if indeed the minister had not stated the percentage for the increase in salaries.

When the responses he got confirmed that he had certainly heard right, he hastily left.

For the headman of arbitration at Ratlhomelang ward in Molepolole, the fact that public officers will for the coming two financial years enjoy some salary increments is a source of joy and ought to be celebrated.

Mr Messiah Rankokwane was content that government had not turned a deaf ear to the plight of public officers, and reckons that the successive increments would raise the morale of officers within the public service, something that would in turn give productivity levels the much-needed boost.

Mr Rankokwane was also appreciative of the P50 million sanitation project that will be implemented in Molepolole in the 2019/20 financial year as part of the clean water and sanitation programme.

A youth, Mr Kenaleone Tsubase saw the budget allocations as well thought-out, particularly allocations to key sectors such as education and health.

He believed that the proposed funding to these sectors would enable them to render services to the nation efficiently.

Mr Tsubase also hailed government on the intended plan to present the bill on the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities to Parliament during the winter meeting.

To him, once in force, the law would help curtail corrupt practices, particularly among bearers of political office.

On the contrary, he was unhappy that there was no commitment by government to address the issue of low wages and salaries, a problem that he felt could be addressed through the putting in place of a minimum wage of at least P2 500.ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Keonee Kealeboga

Location : GABORONE

Event : Vox Pop-Budget Speech

Date : 05 Feb 2019