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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 2

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


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