The Underprivileged dealt a blow with reduced grants

* UB don says this is part of broader spending cuts

* Minister Serame says allocated funds have not always been used

* Saleshando calls for reduction of number of ministries


The decision to decrease grants is part of broader spending cuts and fiscal reforms by the government, a lecturer in economics at the University of Botswana (UB) Dr Boitumelo Moffat, has said.

Speaking in an interview with The Botswana Gazette this week, the UB don noted that the youth have however been catered for in various parts of this year’s budget speech. “For example, ICT this will result in increased job creation, particularly for the youth, among others,” Dr Moffat said.

Delivering her maiden budget speech in her new cabinet perch last week, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Peggy Serame, stated: “Estimated total revenues and grants for 2021/2022 are projected to decrease by P1.18 billion from P64.58 billion in the original budget to P63.40 billion in the revised budget.”

The Minister added that the government has over the years provided significant budget allocations for development programmes but the funds have not always been exhausted.

For the UB academic, inclusion of women opportunities in the budget speech is not enough. “They can be supported financially just as the youth are supported through various platforms,” she said, adding: “Women are only mentioned under the revenue support grants to district and urban councils for gender-based violence cases against women and children. Otherwise they are only grouped with all other persons.”

Meanwhile, responding to the budget speech, the Leader of the Opposition (LOO), who is also the Deputy President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Dumelang Saleshando, said the prevalence of unemployment among the youth is a failure in the country’s leadership.

Saleshando also called for a reduction of government ministries. “Tough economic conditions with reduced revenues and increasing demand call for an efficient system that achieves more with fewer hands,” he noted.