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Youth laud stimulus budget

Baitshepi Sekgweng

As Agriculture And Infrastructure Development Take Centre Stage

The Botswana government has announced a significant budget of P102.28 billion for expenditure and net lending in the financial year 2024/25.

Aligned with the second transitional national development plan, the budget aims to elevate the country to a high-income status, emphasizing increased spending to support public investment.

Infrastructure and agriculture development take center stage as budget priorities, with a proposed development budget of P17 billion dedicated to investing in projects that aim to drive economic growth, create job opportunities, and attract investments.

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Key projects include initiatives in water, transport, energy, information communications and technology, and land servicing.

Termed a stimulus budget, the 2024/25 financial year sees a 23.5 percent overall increase compared to the current financial year, with a substantial budgetary provision of P20.82 billion allocated for game-changing programs, projects, and high-value strategic investments.

During the first youth budget analysis, Minister of Finance Peggy Serame engaged with the youth, receiving feedback on the budget.

Many praised the budget as fairly balanced, particularly noting its focus on the youth and increased funding for the creative sector and sports.

However, concerns were raised about the allocation of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development budget, with calls for a greater emphasis on teaching aides rather than salaries.

The 2024/25 budget aims to promote equality and equal opportunities for all in the economic and socio-political development of the country.

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Notable increases include a 92.3 percent boost to the Youth Development Fund and a 13.8 percent rise in social protection programs.

Youth perspectives on the budget varied.

Aumake Aaron highlighted opportunities for the youth in the creative sector and sports, while Thulani Mpete called for research-based local policies and a thorough audit of education spending.

Entrepreneur Didintle Moreki emphasized the need for the newly introduced “Chema Chema fund” to address generic problems and bridge gaps between existing funds.

Kealeboga Matale commended the government’s interest in agriculture and food security, urging investments in the right sectors and infrastructure.

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Minister Serame addressed inquiries, mentioning that the governance of the “Chema Chema fund” is yet to be finalized, with a focus on bringing different people for fund administration.

The Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport, and Culture has a proposed budget of P1.06 billion for the recurrent budget, marking a 19.4 percent increase over the current year’s budget.

This budget covers various areas, including arts, sports, youth, gender, and cultural activities.

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