Proposals aligned to transformation agenda

03 Feb 2020

Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka has reiterated government economic transformation measures from the current upper middle income to high income by 2036.

Delivering the 2020/2021 Budget Proposals, Dr Matsheka highlighted that the 2020/2021 budget proposal are a first deliberate effort to align to the transformation agenda, with a focus on the promotion of private sector-led growth and job creation.

He said key focus would therefore be in investing in economic infrastructure, developing human capital, developing a vibrant agricultural sector, promoting citizen economic empowerment as well as investing in the creative industry and promoting an export-led economy. With only 16 years left to reach the national vision 2036, Dr Matsheka said the domestic economy growth needed to grow by an average of at least six per   cent per annum against the current projected average growth of four per cent, thus the need to implement robust policy measures.

The transformation measure, he said included growing the economy for job creation and social programmes to sustain livelihoods with the emphasis on improving the regulatory efficiency to support private sector growth and improve efficiency of government spending.

He said the transformation agenda would also reduce the size of government in the economy to create space for the private sector and improve on human skills.

“To achieve the level of growth needed to move this country from the current middle-income trap, there is need for continued investment in appropriate infrastructure which is critical in enhancing productivity and economic growth,” he said.

In this regard, Dr Matsheka noted that government expenditure on infrastructure would target economically viable projects to support private sector-led development with the key infrastructural needs for transformation being electricity or energy, water, rail or roads and technology.

Thus, he said, over half of the Development Budget for the 2020/2021 proposals was geared towards water  and transport  sectors at a proposed amount of over P1.3 billion respectively, while agricultural sector would be allocated P862 million, ICT P823 million, land servicing P541.5 million and Energy P521 million.

His ministry, he said would revisit the process of delivering public infrastructure through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model hence the two specific interventions in this regard during the  Financial Year 2020/2021 would be the promulgation of the PPP procurement law which was at an advanced stage and the development of a strategy for financial mega projects such as roads, rail and ICT, which would form the basis of mobilising resources from  development partners to accelerate the pace of infrastructure development.

Dr Matsheka stated that ICT was critical in driving economic transformation but leveraging on ICT for the digitalisation of the economy required its faster adoption, adding that government through BOFINET had resumed rolling out Fiber-To-The-Business and Fiber-To-The-Home this financial year in Gaborone and would be rolled to other parts of the country out later.

He said government would also capitalise on the demand for digital skills by focusing on implementation of e-services across its delivery models as part of the fourth industry revolution.

“Government has engaged the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to develop the National E-Commerce strategy which will be held in June 2020 with the overall objective been to promote the diffusion and use of the e-commerce throughout Botswana’s commercial and public spheres,” he said.

Though a significant amount of the budget was proposed for infrastructure development, Dr Matsheka highlighted project implementation as the major challenge therefore called for an urgent need to put in place measures to address the problem of delayed project implementation and delivery if the country is to transform to high income status. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : Gaborone

Event : Budget Speech

Date : 03 Feb 2020