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Parliament approves over P2.6bn supplementary funds

12 Mar 2023

Parliament has approved over P2.6 billion requested as supplementary budget for the 2022/2023 financial year.

Presenting the financial paper to the National Assembly recently, Minister of Finance, Ms Peggy Serame said from the funds requested, P2 billion would cover the recurrent budget to be financed from the general revenue balance while over P6 million would fund the development budget.

She said the bulk of the recurrent amount of over P1.3 billion or 66.2 per cent would be used to pay for the shortfall in the provision for salaries arising from the adjustment of public servants’ salaries by five per cent which effected in April last year.

“This adjustment was announced in June last year following an agreement with the labour unions after the budgeting exercise had been concluded. Despite efforts by ministries and departments to absorb the increase within their approved budgets, others could not entirely afford to do so on account of constrained budgets,” she explained.

She added that the amount also included legal costs and service charges at Administration of Justice as outstanding legal costs and compensation under the Attorney General’s Chambers, transfers, transportation and subsistence costs for external travel and state visits under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, workmen’s compensation, temporary assistance, overtime, service charges, postal charges and agency fees at the Ministry of Transport and Public Works.

Also covered under the amount would be computer systems consumables, government Internet and leased lines at the Ministry of Communications, Knowledge and Technology as well as aviation fuel and lubricants, food, service charges, rental, recording and visual equipment, among others at the Ministry of Defence and Security.

“These shortfalls are mainly attributed to the significant increase in the global commodity prices, due to disrupted production and trade of several commodities,” she explained.

She also stated that over P683 million would cover, inter alia, overtime, allowances, external travel for critical and statutory meetings and service charges at Parliament, government medical aid contribution arrears, outsourced services and service charges at the Ministry of Health.

Under the development budget, Ms Serame said the ministry had received one supplementary request from the Ministry of Lands and Water Affairs with respect to two programmes which included water supply pipeline and water supply and sanitation networks.

The two programmes, she said required additional funds amounting to over P589 million, adding that the recommended amount would be sourced from the approved development budget through budget re-allocations from slow spending programmes.

“Given the level of expenditure and the fact that the financial year is left with a few weeks before it ends, it is apparent that the total approved amount would not be fully spent, hence the proposal for re-allocation of the existing budget to fund the supplementary request,” she said.

On the other hand, the minister told Parliament that Botswana economy had continued to show signs of recovery during the 2022/2023 financial year with growth in excess of six per cent in the first three quarters.

“This growth is not expected to deviate significantly from this path for the rest of the year. However, the external economic environment poses more challenges and uncertainty than at the same time a year ago,” she said.

She indicated that the Russia-Ukraine conflict continued to have adverse impact on the global supply chains, mainly the availability of critical commodities, inflation as well as interest rates.

This year, she said recession remained a clear and present danger and was expected to hit some major economies.“In addition, the grave threat of COVID-19 has not left us, with resurgence of the virus reported in China posing risks of new variants popping up which could spread globally,” she warned.

Therefore, she said supplementary estimates requests were proposed under such atmosphere of huge challenges and uncertainties.

That, she explained, meant that while accommodation had been made for requests that were considered to have been unforeseen and were emergencies, due diligence was exercised to do so with moderation.

Meanwhile, the approved budget for the 2022/2023 financial year was P16.430 billion, out of which the minister said over P12.328 billion or 74.04 per cent had been expended as at February 28. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Thato Mosinyi

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament

Date : 12 Mar 2023