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Budgeting for economic growth key - Keebine

05 Feb 2019

Business Botswana president, Mr Gobusamang Keebine has pleaded with government to make provision for economic growth and job creation during national budget proposal planning.

Responding to the 2019/20 budget proposal in an interview, Mr Keebine said growing the economy through job creation should top the agenda.

Mr Keebine said public investment played a critical role in driving research and development, and also a key factor for long-term economic growth.

“Public investments such as education, public health and infrastructure are a fundamental element of any pro-growth budget that seeks to address the problems of slow growth and lack of consistent full employment,” he said.

He said many public investments had a broad economic impact by enabling more Batswana to participate in the economy and benefit from economic growth. He cited improved roads and transit systems, saying they connected workers to new job opportunities.

Infrastructure programmes that build the nation’s physical capital such as transportation and water projects, he said, were a textbook example of public investment.

An increase in public infrastructure investment affects output in the short term by boosting aggregate demand and expanding the productive capacity of the economy with a higher infrastructure stock, he added. Mr Keebine stated that government needed to budget and invest in sectors that promoted shared prosperity through proposing a comprehensive budget plan that substantially increased public investment.

Bearing in mind that this year’s budget proposal also fall within the same year as the national general election, Mr Keebine said it came as no surprise that over 30 per cent of the proposed budget was allocated to service providing ministries.

He said government needed to channel more funds on industries that the private sector had identified as key in driving the country’s economy.

“Certain sectors like improvement of the Information and Communication Technology and infrastructure development are some of the critical aspects of the economy that government needs to focus on to improve the country’s economy,” he said.

Government investment on wireless technology and ICT infrastructure development, he said, was vital for entrepreneurship and small business development, particularly in assisting SMMEs to establish international markets for their products.

“Business Botswana has established a Market Information Intelligence Service (MIIS) which has over 2 500 weavers and craftsmen in rural areas who have been linked through ICT with international markets as a way of expanding their market base,” said Mr Keebine. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Thato Mosinyi

Location : GABORONE

Event : Budget speech

Date : 05 Feb 2019