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.