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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 2 of 2012
24/02/12

“Transparent and Accountable Governance”

Welcome once more to your weekly window into the Presidency. This morning H.E. the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama is scheduled to welcome the arrival H.E. President Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania for a two day visit to our country.

The Tanzanian President is coming to Botswana to take part in the celebrations marking the 50th Anniversary of the founding of ruling Botswana Democratic Party, which will culminate in a gala event tomorrow at the University of Botswana stadium.

Both Presidents Kikwete and Khama are expected to speak at Saturday’s event, which is also expected to draw the attendance of a number of other regional VIPs, including the Honourable South African Deputy President, Kalema Motlante.

As he had promised Mahalapye residents at a Kgotla meeting last week, on Monday morning, the President met with the Minister and senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and associated stakeholders, including the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC). Among the issues that were discussed was the possibility of shifting away from the bolus chip to an alternative system of livestock identification.

The comprehensive briefing further focused on other Agricultural issues ranging from the ongoing progress of development schemes such as ISPAAD and LIMID, to efforts to secure additional alternative markets for domestic livestock products.

During the week, His Excellency also received progress reports from the Ministries of Lands and Housing, Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, and Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs and was further pleased to receive the credential of the incoming envoys of Switzerland, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Zambia, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea.

On Wednesday the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi, presented before Parliament’s Committee of Supply his Recurrent and Development Budget proposals for core departments falling under the Ministry of State President (MSP), namely, the Office of the President and State House, Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), National Aids Coordinating Agency, Departments of Information and Broadcasting Services, Government Printing and Publishing Services, the National Strategy Office and Offices of the two Former President.

As an integral part of Parliament’s Annual Budget Session, the Committee of Supply Speeches are an exercise involving all line Ministries who are in each case expected to itemise their spending expectations for the coming financial year.

The speeches thus build upon Government’s overall Budget Proposals, as presented at the beginning of the session by the Hon. Minister of Finance and Development Planning, by further providing Parliament and the Public with expenditure details in the interest of transparency and accountability

Altogether, Minister Masisi proposed the sum of just under P 550 million for the MSP Recurrent Budget, an 11.6% increase from last year, while the sum P 470.8 million was proposed for the Development Budget.

Although the latter figure represents a 57% decrease from the 2011/2012 development expenditure, it was noted that most of the reduction was in fact due to the strategic transfer of some HIV/AIDS interventions to the recurrent budgets of the Ministries of Health and Local Government, as well as NACA.

Out of the proposed MSP recurrent budget, DPSM accounts for the largest share at 23.7%, followed by Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS) at 22.9% and Office of the President at 19.8%, with the rest of the Ministry’s departments sharing the remaining 33.6%.

Among the priorities outlined by the Minister in his presentation was the need to operationalise Public Service Bargaining Council and upscale Public Service Reforms through improved Human Resource Management.

The Minister was also pleased to report that an encouraging uptake for packages provided under the Poverty Eradication Programme. In this respect he noted that a range of empowerment initiatives in agriculture, industry and commerce were now underway. He also informed the house that to ensure grassroots input, mini-Dipitso have been held at different localities across the country with a view to developing poverty eradication strategies that are suited to each locality.

With respect to HIV/AIDS, Masisi was encouraged by the steady decline in HIV prevalence among pregnant women aged between 15 and 49 years from 37.4% in 2003 to 30.4% in 2011, further noting that his decline was most significant among the 15 to 19 year age group which was from a high of 32.4% in 1995 to 10% in 2011. Among the 20-24 year olds the decline was from 34.8% in 1995 to 19% in 2011.

But, notwithstanding this positive trend, the Minister communicated this administration’s continued concern about the long term financial sustainability of the national response to HIV and AIDS.

Finally, in its latest edition a local Sunday newspaper insinuates that the President is somehow “in on controversial BDC plot sale”. The truth of the matter is however simple and straightforward.

Four years ago a company, that he was then a director and minority shareholder in, divested itself fully from the real estate development in question because he believed that participating in such a joint venture with the BDC would no longer be appropriate once he became State President. Neither he nor his partners therefore has had any ties to the project since 2008.  

 

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