P491 Million Recurrent Budget for Foreign Affairs

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Pelonomi Venson -Moitoi got her chance on Wednesday to stand before the Committee of Supply to present her Ministry's Recurrent and Development Budget Estimates for the financial year 2016/2017.

She said for the Recurrent Budget, the amount requested is Four Hundred and Ninety One Million, Six Hundred and Thirty Nine Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy Eight Pula (P491, 639,278-00) while for the Development Budget, the amount requested is Thirty One Million and Fifty Thousand Pula (P31, 050,000-00)

"While I appreciate the economic difficulties currently facing Botswana, it is critical that my Ministry is adequately resourced. This is of paramount importance if Botswana is to be an effective and influential player in regional, continental and world affairs," said Moitoi.

She said the international system in which they operate is increasingly becoming complex and competitive.

"This necessitates that we intensify our diplomatic engagements, not only with Botswana's traditional development partners, but also with emerging strategic partners if we are to derive maximum benefits. Thus, for my Ministry to effectively advance Botswana's interests abroad, the need for additional financial resources is an absolute necessity," she said.

"It is also worth noting that my Ministry's mandate of promoting Botswana's interests abroad, as well as fostering cooperation with the international community is broad in scope, as we carry out a number of activities on behalf of other Ministries and institutions," added Moitoi.

She said the enormity of such mandate compels her Ministry to adopt a whole-of-Government approach, particularly in their facilitation and coordination role, with all government institutions.

"We also collaborate with the Private Sector and the Civil Society to advance the national development agenda,"she said.

"In other words, the continued support and cooperation of these key stakeholders remains vital if we are to succeed in making Botswana an effective and influential player in world affairs," she explaind.

Moitoi said the year 2015 was characterized by a number of phenomenal challenges threatening humankind which included the energy and water crisis; rising unemployment levels; climate change; increased new security threats; increased competition for foreign direct investment and development assistance.

"This array of challenges compels us more than ever before to work closely with our strategic partners, as well as deeper engagement at a multilateral level in pursuit of sustainable solutions," said Moitoi.

Comming back to the proposed Recurrent Budget for her Ministry for the Financial Year 2016/2017,is Four Hundred and Ninety One Million, Six Hundred and Thirty Nine Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy Eight Pula (P491, 639, 278).She said this represents an increase of Twelve Million, and Thirty Five Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety Eight Pula (P12, 035, 598) or 0.01% over the 2015/2016 Approved Budget of Four Hundred and Seventy Nine Million, Six Hundred and Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Eighty Pula (P479, 603, 480).

"However, there was a Supplementary Provision amounting to One Million Eight Hundred Thousand Pula (P1, 800,000) which was used for Contributions to International Appeal during the Financial Year 2015/2016," said Moitoi.

"This resulted in a Warranted Provision of Four Hundred and Eighty One Million, Four Hundred and Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Eighty Pula (P481, 403, 480). Of the total Supplementary Provision, One Million Five Hundred Thousand Pula (P1, 500, 000) was used as contribution towards the humanitarian situation in Malawi and Mozambique, whilst Three Hundred Thousand Pula (P300, 000) was used for emergency funding in Vanuatu after that country was hit by a cyclone," she adde.

She went on to explain that of the proposed amount, P237, 381,765 which represents 48.28%, is for Personal Emoluments.

"This includes Basic Salary, Allowances – mainly Foreign Service Allowances and Medical Allowances, and Remuneration for Locally Recruited Staff in our respective diplomatic Missions," she expalined.

"The remaining (P254, 257, 513) or 51.72% is for Other Charges which includes, among others; Education Allowances, General Expenses and Supplies, Travel and Transportation Costs; Maintenance and Running Expenses and Replacement of Vehicles,"she added.

She said the increase was necessitated by various factors which include among others; payments of gratuities and increase in employer's contribution to Social Security and Superannuation Funds. As for Other Charges, the increase is mainly on Property Rent and Rates for Missions.

She said under Development Budget Estimates for the financial year 2016/2017, the sum of P31 Million is being requested to continue four major projects as follows:

The sum of P18 million is being requested for construction of the Chancery in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The budget is expected to cover actual construction of the Chancery shell and for payment of architectural services for supervision of the project.

"Madam Chair, my Ministry is also requesting the sum of Two Million Seven Hundred Thousand (P2, 700,000.00) under the project of Roll-out of GABS to Botswana Missions. This is because the Roll out of GABS has been deferred to the next financial year to allow for completion of software upgrade by the relevant Ministry," she went on.

She said the sum of P1, 350,000.00 is requested for the Renovation of the Office Building in our Embassy in New York and her Ministry is also requesting an allocation of P9 Million to carry out extensive renovations of Government owned properties at their Mission in Washington DC and the allocation will be used undertake major maintenance works whose nature and magnitude goes beyond the normal minor maintenance budget allocation under the recurrent budget.

"Madam Chair, I move that the sum of P491, 639, 278 for the recurrent budget be approved and stand as part of the schedule of the 2016/2017 Appropriation Bill.
I also move that the sum of P31, 050,000.00 for the development budget be approved and stand as part of these estimates," she concluded.


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