Local time: Wednesday, 26 September 2018 05:54:43hrs
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Expectations from budget speech

With the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Kenneth Matambo, set to deliver the 2017/18 budget speech this afternoon, different constituents of society are expected to listen attentively to find out what the budget has in store for them.

The annual speech outlines how funds from the treasury are allocated according to different sectors.

Some organisations have explained what they want the minister to focus on in his speech concerning issues related to their areas of operation.

One such organisation, Gender Links Botswana, expects the minister to make pronouncements on funding for training of beneficiaries of the women empowerment programmes.

Gender Links Botswana country manager, Ms Gomolemo Rasesigo, said in an interview that government needs to increase funds for training of beneficiaries in order to equip them with skills that would help them to operate sustainable businesses.

She said while government has spent a lot of money on economic empowerment programmes for women over the years, many beneficiaries still lack requisite skills to efficiently run their projects.

Ms Rasesigo said due to lack of skills many of the projects that were funded ended up failing to operate sustainably.

“Our primary expectation is to find out how much the newly formed Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs would get from the budget, and how the money would be spent. But, I am interested in seeing more provision for capacitating women and empowering them to run sustainable projects,” Ms Rasesigo said last week.

Ms Rasesigo further said she wanted the minister to highlight how much money has been budgeted for implementation of the National Gender Policy.

Botswana Network on Law and Ethics (BONELA) executive director, Ms Cindy Kelemi said her organisation’s interest in the budget speech is very much linked to their mandate which is to work to ensure protection, promotion and fulfillment of the right to health in Botswana.

“BONELA therefore has a vested interest in resource allocation, particularly for the health sector. It is well documented that health is a cross cutting issue which affects not just the individuals wellbeing, but the county’s economic and social development. Diseases have no regard for boundaries.

They affect the poor as well as the rich, working class and the unemployed, leaders and those being led, educated and uneducated alike, therefore our approach to health should be considerate of the fact that it’s firstly, a human rights issue which affects socio, economic, cultural and religious wellbeing,” she explained.

She said her organisation believes that health should be allocated a larger share of the national budget.

Ms Kelemi complained that while Botswana is one of the few countries in Africa that have attained the Abuja Declaration commitment of ensuring that at least 15 per cent of the allocation of the national budget goes to health, the amount of money allocated has not yet translated to equitable access to health. BOPA

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