Office of the President (OP)
News
15.06.10
This week opened with His Excellency and Cabinet attending the launch of the Bank of Botswana 2009 Annual Report at the invitation of the Governor of Bank of Botswana on Monday, 31 June 2010. The launch afforded the President the opportunity to be briefed on the state of the economy with presentations bordering on economic performance; determinants and trends in household financial savings in Botswana; performance of the reserves and performance of financial institutions. Reflected in the report was the contraction that occurred during 2009 compared with the previous year and the downward trend of inflation to fall within the banks set medium term objective. On Tuesday, 1 June 2010, His Excellency graced the Ministry of Transport and Communications’ first ever Aviation Pitso in Maun. The purpose of the Pitso was to accord stakeholders in the air transport industry a platform to discuss and address issues pertaining to the impact of aviation on Botswana’s economic growth and diversification efforts. The Pitso resolved amongst others to establish an aviation curriculum, address issues of safety and security at airports whilst designing a robust and intense marketing strategy to promote the sector in Botswana. For his part, His Excellency echoed Government’s commitment to support and develop the transport hub and further urged stakeholders to grow the industry, come up with implementable proposals for expeditious execution within six months. Yesterday, Miss Botswana paid a courtesy call on His Excellency the President at the Office of the President where she shared her vision as the nations’ Ambassador and her intended projects during her reign. Today, His Excellency departed for Cuba on a state visit and is expected back on 13 June 2010. BGCIS
15.06.10
Botswana Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) broad forward: BEAC’s forth meeting was held last week on 21 May 2010. The meeting considered and overview of the economy, status of the diamond market, progress of the Agricultural and Education Hubs amongst others. The overview of the economy shows a decline of 6% annual growth rate in 2009 after a growth rate of 3.1% in 2008. Both the mining and mining sectors registered significant growth. In view of the afforested, Government resolved to remain committed to its fiscal position and aim at achieving a balanced budget by 2012/13 financial year through the use of the following strategies: • Maintaining a good balance in the use of Government reserves and borrowing to finance the budget deficit; • Ensuring that only essential services are delivered by Government. To deliver more with less; •Focussing on high return projects; •Avoiding Government competition with the Private Sector; and •Economic diversification. It was further decided that the Government Implementation Coordination Office (GICO) which serves as Secretariat of the BEAC and is responsible for implementation coordination shall also take on the responsibility for the coordination of the formulation of Strategy Office. The establishment of the One Stop Service Shop by BEDIA and the Economic Free Zone, Botswana Meat Commission reforms and Land reforms were to be given priority in implementation. This week’s highlights started on Monday, 24 May 2010 with Ministry of Health quarterly briefing to His Excellency, touching on the progress, bottlenecks and required interventions. Key issues discussed included amongst others fast tracked outsourcing, innovative means of ensuring timely service delivery, whilst devising health information handling strategy and the need for improved project implementation and lastly addressed issues of corruption related to procurement of drugs and pilferage. On Tuesday, His Excellency accompanied by Cabinet Ministers held a consultative meeting with the Francistown Town Council. This was the first several interactive sessions to be held with local authorities and will be extended to cover the entire country with the next billed for the 25 June 2010 at the Gaborone City Council. During the Francistown session, Cabinet was briefed on progress, challenges and decided on the way forward, and further discoursed on other matters of national interest. Discussions focussed on the need for better coordination between central and local authorities in the delivery of programmes on health, education, infrastructure development, and water, empowerment of local businesses, youth development, and destitute support, Ipelegeng, revenue collection and the impact of the global financial and economic crisis and the resultant suspension of the some projects, Emphasis was placed on the important role by local authorities in growing the local economy and reducing greater dependence on central Government for financial resources. His Excellency concluded the week by attending the High Level Consultative Council. The HLCC brings together Government and Parastatals over issues of national concern and priority. The Council meets bi-annually. Outside His Excellency’s diary, the Office of the President led by Assistant Minster Masisi held a workshop on poverty eradication where they discussed and concluded on what constitutes poverty in the context of Botswana. They went on to interrogate the current framework and policies and decided on the flagship initiatives to drive the cause. On the issue of the appointment of judge and the link of the FTC Full Council meeting attended by His Excellency and Cabinet to the BDP split, the record has since been put straight. The latter meeting contrary to media reports has since been arranged and had nothing to do with addressing issues of BDP, particularly the split. Otherwise as regards allegations of people being barred from attending the Council meeting as carried out in some local newspapers, there is no element of truth on what’s being suggested and therefore utterly false. BGCIS
15.06.10
In his 2009 Inauguration Address H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, linked our country's longstanding adherence to the principles of democracy and freedom to the need for greater accountability at all levels of Government. In this context, the Office of the President recognizes its own obligation for improved transparency in communicating to its customers - you the public. We are therefore introducing a new Friday feature "Inside the Presidency", which will provide readers with a diary of some of the key activities and issues that engaged the President and those around him during the week. The President's activities this week included briefings by the Ministries of Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs (MMEWR) and Transport and Communications (MTC), addressing kgotla meetings in Otse and Mogobane, and meeting with members of the Sponsor a Child Trust, for which he has long served as a patron, as well as presiding over the usual Wednesday meeting of Cabinet. This Week also witnessed the convening of the 2ND National Conference on HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infections and other Related Infectious Diseases, which was opened by H.H. the Vice President Mompatii Merafhe, along with the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Lesego Motsumi. In his opening address the Vice President noted that locally based research had contributed to an estimated 50% reduction in AIDS related deaths among Batswana. Another key event on the President's calendar is today's convening of a meeting of Botswana Economic Advisory Council or BEAC. The Council, which is chaired by the President and meets twice a year, brings together prominent economists and policymakers from within and without Government to advise the President on strategic international and domestic business issues. We plan to bring you more details about this body in our next issue. On Political Matters the President will also address a joint Star Rally of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party's Women's Wing and Gaborone Region today, which will be a lead in to this weekend's meeting of the party's National Council. Focus on MMERW In keeping with his commitment to the nation to ensure delivery, the President receives quarterly briefings on the progress, challenges and proposed ways of moving forward by all Government Ministries and Departments. These briefings, which are also attended by H.H. the Vice President, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, along with senior officials, are a key component in of the Presidency's efforts to ensure the close monitoring and coordination of projects and initiatives across government. On Monday His Excellency thus met with the Hon. Minister Ponatshego Kedikilwe, along with senior officials of the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs. Some of the projects and initiatives that were discussed during the meeting were progress on the installation of the prepaid water metering system, the consolidation of water authorities and other water sector reforms, standardization of electricity tariffs, and the refurbishment of the North-South Water Carrier. The occasion also provided a welcome opportunity for the Minister to update the President on the flood situation currently afflicting the Chobe-Okavango watersheds. During the meeting the President was pleased to note that 89% of the ministries projects have remained on schedule throughout the year, while there has been 100% implementation of projects. In the process the ministry has a sterling track record of spending within its budget allocation - recording a 98% expenditure record for the 2009-10 financial year, notwithstanding the need for it to take on additionalprojects during the period. Despite this achievement the briefing focused in on the need to further improve its project coordination and monitoring. To address this need the Ministry will establish a dedicated project implementation unit. BGCIS
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