- Funded projects suspended
- Districts funds recalled- claims
FRANCISTOWN: The recent BOT50 celebration over expenditure seems to have exhausted MYSEC coffers, leading to the suspension of annual Arts and Culture funded projects.
The decision came as a shock following the approval of Arts and Culture applications and has left scores of beneficiaries in the lurch, raising fears that government might not fund the approved projects which were supposed to start in ernest. Among other projects which have been funded is sports tournaments, music festivals as well as capacity building workshop.
Several beneficiaries who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of victimization expressed their shock at the decision to suspend funding when preparations were at an advanced stage. “What is disheartening is that MYSEC officers have been silent on this issue This decision has left most of the beneficiaries at loggerheads with their suppliers because they have already rendered their services to us therefore they need payment from us. Upon enquiries MYSEC told us that the recent BOT50 celebration budget expenditure has exhausted their coffers. Therefore, the ministry recalled the funds from all the districts to augment their budget. So, what we gathered is that this over expenditure and recalling of the funds resulted in suspension of districts projects,” lamented one of the beneficiaries last week.
Recently, MYSEC Minister Thapelo Olopeng revealed to parliament that the BOT50 celebrations exceeded the initial budget by P13.4 million due to activities that emerged during the preparations which include among others purchasing of furniture for heads of states, branding of public service week, as well as consultative meetings. One MYSEC authority who wanted to remain anonymous revealed to The Botswana Gazette that indeed the Arts and Culture-funded projects have been suspended. “Most of the districts have run out of funds because the ministry has recalled the money. Therefore, we were left with no other option but to suspend the projects until further notice,” the officer revealed.
Upon enquiry, MYSEC Public Relations Officer Thobo Tlhasana said there was no how district funds could be recalled before the financial year ended. If anything, he said people making the claims should be stating that their districts have exhausted grants at district level instead of criticizing the ministry.
“What I understand is that BOT50 has its budget, so there was no how we can take the funds we disbursed for respective districts,” Tlhasana said, promising to look into the issue further.