Botswana’s ministry of defence, justice and security received the lion’s share of 24 per cent of the 2016/17 budget allocation delivered by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo on Monday.
“The Ministry takes the largest share of the proposed budget, mainly to cater for provision of defence equipment, communication equipment and infrastructure, in order to improve Botswana Defence Force’s defence capabilities,” said the minister.
Despite the generous budget allocation to the ministry, Matambo pointed out that the medium term fiscal outlook was still a cause for concern, given the modest growth prospects for the domestic economy.
This deficit and any other future budget deficit will be restricted to a ratio up to 4% of GDP to avoid the country sliding into an unsustainable fiscal path.
Africanews correspondent in Botswana, Thapelo Ndlovu, said the finance minister revealed that the budget was at a deficit of 3.8% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and that the government would have to draw from its savings and borrow from both the domestic and foreign sources.
Matambo, however, gave assurance that “this deficit and any other future budget deficit will be restricted to a ratio up to 4% of GDP to avoid the country sliding into an unsustainable fiscal path.”
While some commentators questioned the lion share of the defence ministry, the top five list is consistent with President Ian Khama’s priority list under the newly unveiled Economic Stimulus package.
The top five in the development allocation are the Ministry of Mineral, Energy and Water Affairs (23.1%), the Ministry of Transport and communications (9.5%), the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (8.3%) and lastly the Ministry of Education and Skills Development which pocketed 7.4% of the allocation.