Matsheka delivers his first Budget speech

Kabelo Adamson

All eyes will be on Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Thapelo Matsheka when he delivers his maiden budget speech for 2020/2021 financial year this afternoon.

Already, as per the 2020/2021 Budget Strategy Paper (BSP) presented to stakeholders last October, a P6.9 billion deficit or -3.1 percent of the GDP is forecasts for the coming financial year.

Revenues are forecast at P59.1 billion against an expenditure of P66 billion.

Speaking at a media workshop recently, Chief Economist at First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), Moatlhodi Sebabole said the significance of today’s budget speech is that it comes at the mid-point of the National Development Plan 11 (NDP 11).

“So, this budget is significant in that it is combined with the review of the Plan because we are in the middle of it. NDP 11 originally had six priorities and it had to be more focused, which is why government has moved from six to four,” said Sebabole.

Sebabole expects Matsheka to focus on these three priorities being; promoting export led growth; efficiency in government spending and financing; building human capital; and providing infrastructure.

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The economy is currently grappling with dwindling revenue growth rates according to Sebabole while expenditure growth rates up ballooning.

He said this is due to closure of key mines that contributes significantly to the economy as well as poor performance of diamonds on the market.

“Expenditure, maintenance and mega projects that we are still working on, salaries and all other expenditures are going up,” said the FNBB Chief Economist.

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