The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning held the National Development Plan (NDP) 10 Mid-Term Review National Stakeholders’ Conference from 22 to 23 October 2012. The event enabled the participants to reflect on the NDP 10’s past, present and future. Subsequent to the conference, the Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo presented the draft mid-term review of the NDP 10 in Parliament on 8th April 2013. In short, he asked the nation to work harder and smarter; are we ready?
Mid-Term Review (MTR), a form of evaluation exercise, is an important deliberative fora where development partners, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and various stakeholders, meet to discuss issues pertaining to NDPs (Botlhale, 27/10/12; NDP 10 Mid-Term Review). In this regard, the NDP 10’s MTR ‘identifies and analyses critical issues that will affect Botswana’s economic and social development path during the remaining period of NDP 10 (Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, 2012; Mid-Term Review of NDP 10).’
Minister Matambo stated that ‘there is a need for the nation to substantially increase productivity of its capital and labour as well as the competitiveness of its products in the global market in order to realise desirable economic growth (Republic of Botswana, 09/04/13; Minister-Matambo-presents-draft-mid-term-review).’ He further stated that ‘it was necessary to develop domestic capacity to manage economic shocks, especially those that are of a global dimension (ibid).’ Thus, to action the foregoing, amongst others, will entail the implementation of high economic impact projects through the rigorous economic appraisal of programmes and projects.
In addition to the implementation of high economic impact projects, Matambo proposed other initiatives, including the prudent management of the national budget to buffer the economy against external shocks such as global economic crisis. At the same time, he stated that the revenue situation was not as bad as the initial forecasts had suggested; notably, a declining revenue envelope was forecast at the commencement of the NDP 10 on 1st April 2009. To illustrate, while the plan had projected total government revenues to be P73.5 billion during the first half of the plan, the figures turned out to be P100.4 billion (ibid).
However, things turned out differently on the expenditure side. Hence, total government spending turned out to be P116.6 billion instead of the projected P105.8 billion. Regarding the deficit/surplus budget dimension, the actual cumulative budget deficit for the first three years stood at P16.2 billion instead of the projected P28.7 billion. Moving forward, Matambo stated that the second half of the Plan would address unemployment [particularly on the youth], accelerating graduation rates from anti-poverty programmes, accelerating economic growth and continued macro-economic stability [achieved through competitive exchange rates and contained inflation rates] (ibid).
Ending, the draft mid-term review of the NDP 10 is a clarion call to us to work harder and smarter. Importantly, since the Plan’s inception, economic growth has fallen short of forecast figures; hence, this will affect the delivery of Vision 2016. Hence, the fierce urgency of now in working harder and smarter is inarguable.