Bots out of the woods: President Khama
Gaborone – Botswana like many other countries in the continent had to resort to cutting on expenditure and shelving some national projects owing to the 2008/09 global financial crisis and economic recession.
However, while delivering the State of the Nation Address, President Ian Khama, expressed confidence that the country is moving out of the woods, thanks to “the prudent economic and financial management by my government”.
He said the country was able to survive the 2008/09 global financial crisis and economic recession with minimum impact on the domestic economy, adding that the government was able to save jobs in both the public service and private sector as well as provide essential public services.
“These positive trends should allow us to revive some of our postponed projects, along with outstanding issues affecting the conditions of service among public employees,” said President Khama.
He said his optimism is partly based on forecasts of continued, albeit still fragile, global economic recovery, with worldwide output projected to grow by 3.3 percent in 2014 and 3.8 percent in 2015. The government has succeeded in restoring a balanced budget during the 2012/13 financial year, after four years of budget deficits.
For the 2013/14 financial year, government was able to collect P48.9 billion, up from the P41.7 billion received in 2012/13, while total expenditures and net lending for 2013/14 amounted to P41.73 billion, he said.
President Khama said this resulted in a budget surplus of P7.2 billion, largely due to the good performance of the mineral sector, adding that a budget surplus of P1.3 billion is projected for 2014/15.
To sustain a positive balance sheet would, however, require expanded revenues, he said, adding that government was able to collect P48.9 billion in the 2013-14 financial years, up from the P41.7 billion received in 2012-13. The 2013/14 outturn for expenditure and net lending was P41.7 billion,” said President Khama.
The Botswana International Trade and Centre (BITC) continues to promote the country as a competitive location for investment, making business contacts and generating leads. During the 2013-2014 financial year,
“BITC helped realise a total combined investment capital of just over 1 billion pula, of which P642 million was from foreign direct investment (FDI) and P449 million came from new domestic investments,” said President Khama.
According to President Khama, in 2012/13, BITC further recorded P1.9 billion worth of goods and services exported into the region and beyond, of which P738 million was attributable to financial and international business services by the financial services cluster. The gross domestic product (GDP) stood at P124 billion in 2013 and is projected to expand to P136.5 billion in 2014.
In real terms, the GDP grew by 5.8 percent in 2013, and is projected to grow by 5.2 percent in the current year, driven by both the mining and non-mining sectors. Within the non-mining sector, retail and hospitality industries, as well as agriculture are experiencing growth.
*1 Pula = R1.19