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Local government ministry needs bigger share

09 Mar 2023

As a ministry at the heart of daily lives of Batswana, especially in rural areas, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development deserves a bigger share from the national coffers than what it is allocated.

That was according to various legislators who made an input on the ministry’s budget proposals for the 2023/2024 financial year.

They indicated that more funds were justified more so that the ministry had taken a decision to decentralise powers of local authorities by upgrading sub-councils to fully-fledged councils.

Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South, Mr Christiaan Greeff said most developments in the country depended on the ministry, such as storm water drainages and internal roads development, among many others.

“A good example is the Gaborone City Council’s stormwater drainage network, which alone requires P3 billion, but we were informed that only a budget of about P480 million was available for the project, which is also supposed to cover similar projects at Mahalapye and Thamaga. This is an indication that this ministry should have been allocated more funds,” Mr Greeff said.

Tlokweng MP, Mr Thulagano Segokgo also said if given more funds, the ministry would be enabled to attend to some challenges such as shortage of classrooms in schools across the country, which caused congestion.

For his part, Thamaga-Kumakwane MP, Mr Palelo Motaosane argued that with the insufficient funds that the ministry had been allocated, it meant that most of their development project requests would be but just dreams.

“With the decision to decentralise, it means that the ministry has a lot of work to do infrastructure-wise,” he said.

Some legislators also called on the ministry to give council leadership executive powers to enable them to freely take decisions, hence speed up service delivery.

Legislators were commenting on the local government and rural development ministry’s budget proposals for the 2023/2024 financial year of over P10.559 billion (P10 559 428 090) presented by Minister Kgotla Autlwetse recently.

The total estimates comprise over P8.224 billion (P8 224 186 090) for the recurrent budget and over P2.335 billion (P2 335 242 000) for development budget which Parliament subsequently passed.

Mr Autlwetse also agreed with legislators that most infrastructure in primary schools around the country was dilapidated and needed attention.

“It is not a desirable sight, but it is a pity that the current economic status could not allow for more funds,” he regretted.

He added that the menu at primary schools allowed for the provision of local produce such as corn, and the same should be encouraged at other government institutions like prisons and hospitals.

That was in response to suggestions made by some MPs that consumption of traditional food at schools should be encouraged. Again, he said opening of private pre-schools was allowed under the laws of the country.

In other issues, the minister said corruption was rooted in local government projects, especially at tendering stage.

However, he encouraged legislators to report any suspicions of corruption to relevant offices such as the police. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Olekantse Sennamose

Location : GABORONE


Date : 09 Mar 2023