Botswana government has lost over P1 billion on the dysfunctional e-Government programme which was introduced in 2012; Public Accounts Committee has been informed.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications Kabelo Ebineng admitted that the implementation of e-Government was nonexistent, with financial resources budgeted for the programme channeled to where they were not intended to.
It emerged that the department’s estimated budget was P871 million and the officer who was called to state how the money was used Oratile Thobogang said she was not comfortable to reveal how the money was spent. She said out of the estimated budget, they have spent P214 million on e-Government.
The figures presented didn’t satisfy the members of PAC who requested that ledger be printed to see the proper figures. The figures showed that the total budget for e-government was P1.3 billion and P1.2 billion has been spent yet there is nothing to show.
E-Government has been embroiled in controversies since inception even when it was still at the Office of the President. In 2015, Parliament allocated P150 million to the Ministry of State President to finance the development of e-Government. To this day, the ministry has not started the project and the money has not being accounted for.
More than 30 civil servants who were employed for the project have since been retrenched because government says there is no money to pay them. The government is also refusing to sign a tender agreement with a Canadian company that was contracted for the project with no credible reasons being advanced.
In 2016 the Ministry of Transport and Communications introduced Botswana e-Government Service Oriented Enterprise Architecture and Interoperability Framework. Its objective was to develop sets of standards, guidelines and artifacts that were to be used to inform the development of ICT systems in government.
The project was started at the Ministries of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI), Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security and Ministry of Transport and Communication.
The project was prepared by a Korean company known as Korea IT Consulting J.V, and done at a cost of P89 million. It was believed that it would ease the way things are done at government ministries.
The project consisted of five phases and planning and foundation phases have just been completed while the first expansion phase commenced last year.
Two leadership training sessions have apparently been conducted in South Korea where the leadership of the ministries was given an opportunity to interact with the ministries in South Korea on how enterprise architecture can be used to improve service delivery through better development of ICT systems. But Ebineng admitted that implementation of the project has failed and they are currently reviewing it.