Botswana: Drought to Be Permanent Feature of National Budget

(file photo).

Gaborone — Government is developing a drought management strategy which will make drought a permanent feature of the national budget rather than an emergency.

Delivering his State-of- the- Nation-Address (SONA) on November 18 , President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said the strategy would be completed before the end of the 2019/20 financial year.

"In view of the prolonged dry spell period, government has declared the 2018/19 financial year as a drought year with mitigation measures being a 35 per cent subsidy on livestock feeds, emergency food baskets in the Kgalagadi, Okavango and the North East districts and continuation of rations for children under the age of five and school feeding at primary schools," he said.

Regarding the Ipelegeng Programme, Dr Masisi said it contributed to improved livelihoods by providing temporary relief to vulnerable groups in rural and urban communities.

On poverty fighting measures,, he explained that since the inception of the Poverty Eradication Programme in 2011, more than 38 418 beneficiaries had been funded 29 877 of which were in operation.

Still on poverty eradication, President Masisi said the exit strategy was developed and launched in February this year.

"It outlines interventions that facilitated graduation of beneficiaries with excelling projects," he explained adding that to date some 2 094 such businesses had graduated from the programme.About breakfast provision at primary schools, Dr Masisi said the scheme was introduced in April with a view to promote optimal health, growth and development, prevention of nutritional deficiencies as well as to align primary school menu with that provided at senior level.

He further explained that the menu supported poverty eradication and home-grown feeding initiatives to economically empower and capacitate Batswana and promote micro and small-scale entrepreneurship.

On gender issues, Dr Masisi said government recognised gender equity as fundamental to sustainable development.

"Government continues to support women in accessing markets through annual business expositions. The Women's Economic Empowerment Programme is being reviewed and the exercise will be finalised before the end of this financial year," he said.

He said government had noted with concern that Gender Based Violence (GBV) was one of the critical issues impeding women, girls and men from fully enjoying their human rights and unleashing their potential.

On another issue, Dr Masisi explained that government had introduced the Botswana Blue Card (BBC) to allow persons who ceased to be citizens of Botswana, such as those who have renounced Botswana citizenship, to retain the right to unlimited stay in Botswana.

"The BBC holders would have the right to visit, live and work in Botswana. However, they won't be entitled to Omang and the Botswana passport because they would have ceased to be citizens of Botswana at the time they acquired the citizenship of another country" he clarified.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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