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UDC calls for P1 billion cut from air assets budget

Daniel Chida

This procurement won’t create jobs- Saleshando

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) intend to table a motion demanding that the P1.5 billion budget for Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security’s set aside for procuring of air assets, be reduced to P500million.

When addressing members of the media this week, the Leader of Opposition- Dumelang Saleshando, who was accompanied by other UDC MPs said that the cut P1 billion will be split between the Ministries of Education and Health and Wellness.

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“The increase in military expenditure is worrisome, government has set aside P1.5 billion to procure air assets.”

Saleshando’s worry is that the air assets will not be procured in Botswana but imported from other countries.

“This is against what Dr Thapelo Matsheka said during his budget speech where he mentioned that he was going to reduce the Import Bill and increase exports.”

The Maun West legislator said the Minister of Finance and Economic Development knows well that this exercise is not going to create jobs or have any impact on the domestic economy.

“It is going to create jobs and demand in foreign economies. So we will be moving an amendment to the current budget as UDC, proposing that the P1.5 billion budget be reduced,” he pointed out and added: “We hope the military will work around what will be left as we move to prioritise things.”

Meanwhile the UDC MP who is tasked with issues of Basic Education, Climate Change and Environment, Carter Hikuama, said that if allowed such money, the Ministry of Education will use it to improve the poor standard of education as some subjects demand specialised classes.

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“We have to move away from buying books and provide schools with internet and tablets for use.”

On the other hand, David Tshere who is responsible for Health, Infrastructure and Housing Development said the MOH will use the funds in buying more equipment for hospitals.

“Waiting periods for patients to be operated takes long because of shortage of manpower and equipment.”

He added that even the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus needed manpower but there are no funds.

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