By Bakang Mhaladi
GABORONE– BOTSWANA has been adding up its bill from its Golden Jubilee celebrations, and members of parliament have learnt that fireworks do not come cheap.
Botswana paid a Chinese company Jiangsu Jianhu P1.8 million (US$180,000) for fireworks used to light up the sky, as the country celebrated 50 years of independence on September 30.
MPs also heard how P4.1 million was used to purchase furniture for invited regional leaders.
Only two Heads of State, SADC chairperson and Swaziland’s King Mswati and Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of Mozambique, attended the celebrations.
Kefentse Mzwinila, the assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture, presenting the celebrations’ procurement report to parliament this week, said they had expected 20 Heads of State but only two graced the occasion.
“Most sent their representatives. We don’t know why they didn’t show up,” said Mzwinila.
The furniture, he said, would be handed over to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Mzwinila told parliament the celebrations’ budget shot to P113 million from the initial P100 million. The private sector contributed P3 million towards the celebrations.
Mzwinila said the cost overruns were mainly due to activities that emerged during the execution of the plan.
He said that the money budgeted for the celebration was well spent.
“It was very well spent. Batswana appreciated the spirit of the celebrations. They even felt that a bigger budget should have been allocated to this national celebration,” Mzwinila said.
Selebi Phikwe West legislator, Dithapelo Keorapetse, had asked the junior minister to state how much was used during the celebrations.