Supplementary requests breed corruption- Davids

SHARE   |   Monday, 21 March 2016   |   By Keitebe Kgosikebatho

Parliament on Friday passed the supplementary estimates  of expenditure  for the consolidated  and development funds contained in Financial paper No.3 which includes  the Ministry of State President’s request  for  additional  funding  amounting to P5, 233, 700 to cater  for the  6 %  salary  increase  which was effected  in April  2015. Although opposition MPs, present in parliament objected and accused the Minister of Finance and Development Planning for unnecessarily  delaying to include the  amount in the national budget he presented to the nation in February, Minister Kenneth Matambo explained that he was in fact delayed by the bargaining council’s failure to reach a consensus.

While almost all of the ruling part MPs who took to the floor to debate the supplementary estimates  accused most opposition MPs of not taking the plight and need of Batswana serious by abandoning parliamentary sessions , the few who were present  accused  the ruling party of playing dilly  dally tactics and wasting public funds on unnecessary supplements. “I have observed that each time when parliament is to debate  supplementary estimates to the budgets  opposition MPs walk out,  and this is not good,” he said.

According to Moswaane this revealed and exposed the irresponsible behaviour of the legislators from across the floor to the wider public as it showed that they do not have their best interest at heart. According to Moswaane, contained in the supplementary estimates were funds which had the possibility of changing people’s lives but  could fail if it did not receive enough support from all members of parliament. According to Moswaane all requests contained in the estimates were  necessary and  deserved  to be given the attention and seriousness that it deserves by legislators. Although it seemed all ruling party MP were  happy and wanted to pass the supplementary estimates with all thumbs up, Francistown East MP Buti Billy could not have any of it. Though he would as is culture from BDP MPs give the estimates his blessing, Billy  poured scorn on some of the details that he opined were not necessary and should not have been included, which he said included the fleet expansion  project under the Ministry of  Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT).

“ It is stated that the fleet expansion included  under MEWT includes the acquisition  of aircraft , specialised  vehicles and equipment to curb  increasing incidents of  poaching,  do you want to tell me that poaching only started increasing recently, why is not included in the budget ,” Billy asked. He however indicated that he was in full support of the estimates and will like to see them pass. Opposition Members of Parliament however could not have none of it, Ramotswa MP Samuel Rantuana and Kgatleng East Isaac Davids  who opined that the  supplementary estimates were not necessary and if anything should have been included in the annual budget. “This supplementary estimates which are being passed every year shows bad planning by government, and we know that bad planning often lead to corruption,” Davids said.

Davids said that he personally suspect that the ruling party is  not using money well and that the funds requested might even be used to sponsor activities that the state was not even aware of. When presenting  the financial paper to parliament, Matambo revealed that   it contained proposals  for the consolidated  fund supplementary  estimates  pertaining to four ministries under the recurrent  budget. The four ministries according to the Matambo includes the Ministry of State President, The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Lands and Housing.

The Ministry of Education  and Skills Development  had requested  for additional  funding amounting to  P288,030,910 to cater  for among  other things  6 %  adjustments  to salaries and allowances  which effected  in April 2015, under both headquarters 9P21, 928,190) AND Teaching Service Management  (P189,556,210).The supplementary  request according to Matambo will  also cover  settlement for water and electricity bills (P65,270,810) which grew  significantly due  to tariff adjustments of 20 % for water and 17.5%  for electricity respectively, with effect  from April, 2015 and increase  in purchase  of food  (P11,275,700) under the Department of Secondary  Education.

The ministry of Health according to the Minister  had requested a total amount of P268,938,640 as supplementary budget to cover  among other things 6%  salary adjustments  for mission  hospitals  and 30 % overtime  allowances for nurses (P27, 912, 410) and scarce skill allowance totalling  P124,978,330 for various  professional cadres following a  court order. The Ministry  of Lands and Housing had requested an additional  amount of  P16, 764, 930 to cater for a shortfall in the revenue support grant  for the lands boards, arising  from the 6 % salary adjustment which was effected in April 2015, while the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism had requested  P40, 700, 000  for fleet expansion project while a total estimated cost of P77, 960, 000  was requested for the reallocations from MEWT computerisation and National Rural Sanitation Projects.