Gaborone — Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Kenneth Matambo says government achieved various economic successes including reduction in unemployment and poverty levels and decline in average inflation rate under President Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
Delivering the 2017/18 Budget Speech in Parliament yesterday (February 5), Mr Matambo said unemployment rate declined from 26 to 17.7 per cent during the 10 years under his stewardship.
He added that official figures indicated a three per cent decline between 2009 and 2016 of the proportion of people living below the poverty datum line.
"Survey results published by Statistics Botswana in January 2018 show that the proportion of people living below the poverty datum line has been declining over the years, from 19.3 per cent in 2009/10 to 16.3 per cent in 2015/16. In terms of abject poverty, that is, those earning below USD1.25 per day, the rate declined from 6.6 per cent in 2009/10 to 3.3 per cent in 2015/16," said the minister.
He said efforts to diversify the economy also yielded positive results during the past decade, which resulted in the share of the mining sector in the domestic output declining from 25 per cent in 2008 to 20 per cent in 2017, while the contribution of non-mining sectors increased over the same period.
Mr Matambo observed that growth of the non-mining sectors reflected private sector response to macro-economic policy decisions such as the reduction in corporate tax in July 2011 from 25 to 22 per cent.
The minister said another significant development was increase in the minimum income tax threshold from P24 000 to P36 000 to allow for increase in personal disposable income necessary to enhance wealth creation, savings and participation in economic activities.
He said continued supportive monetary policy also resulted in the country's average inflation rate declining from 12.6 per cent in 2008 to reach a low of 3.3 per cent in 2017.
He further said Botswana was among the countries that managed to withstand the impact of the 2008/2009 global economic and financial crisis by maintaining an expansionary fiscal policy stance, which led to government saving many jobs within the public and private sectors.
He also said the adoption of the Economic Stimulus Programme in 2016/17 to boost economic growth, promote economic diversification and to create jobs, was another example of the forward-looking and bold leadership by President Khama.
"All these noteworthy achievements are indicative of good foresight on the part of His Excellency the President, who saw virtues of prudent economic management and maintaining a strong economy as part of good governance," he said.
Source : BOPA