Botswana’s Finance Ministry submitted a 1.1 billion pula ($102.5 million) supplementary budget to lawmakers, with additional funds to cater for increases in civil service and armed forces wages and pensions.
The supplementary funds will be diverted from “slow spending” projects under the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Finance Minister Thapelo Matsheka told lawmakers Wednesday.
The lands and water ministry won’t fully utilize its approved budget for the year and “it was considered prudent to reallocate the unspent budget balances rather than seek additional funds that were bound to increase the projected fiscal deficit,” he said.
Opposition lawmakers criticized the proposals, noting that the pay increases were made a few months before the Oct. 23 general election in which President Mokgweetsi Masisi was re-elected president.
The finance ministry expects a 7.8 billion pula budget deficit this fiscal year and more shortfalls until 2022-23 due to lower mineral revenues and higher recurrent spending, fueled partly by the civil service wage increases.