Following a revelation in the 2021/2022 budget speech by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development- Dr. Thapelo Matsheka that twelve billion pula (P12 billion) was withdrawn from the Government Investment Account (GIA) in a space of twelve (12) months from the beginning of the current financial year, there has been comments, questions and speculations about where the money went.

One of the local newspapers- WeekedPost, wrote an article titled “P12 billion gone; Where and How” on Saturday 6-12 February 2021. In response of the comments from the public, the Permanent Secretary (PS) for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MFED)- Dr. Wilfred Mandlebe condemned the article as they say it has “the potential to mislead the public”

However, Mandlebe says they as the ministry welcome the feedback from the public, “The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MFED) welcomes the comments by the media and the public on the recently presented budget speech, as these provide valuable feedback to the Ministry.”

That, the balance on the Government Investment Account (GIA) declined from P17.8 billion in December 2019 to P5.6 billion in November 2020, a decline of P12.2 billion, is a fact as stated in paragraph 31 of the 2021 Budget Speech. There should be no mystery over this and what the money was used for, as details are contained in accompanying documents to the Budget Speech such as the “Financial Statements, Tables and Estimates of the Consolidated and Development Funds Revenues 2021/2022”. This information is in the public domain.

Dr. Wilfred Mandlebe

Below is a summary by the PS outlining how a whooping sum of P12 billion was spent in a space of 12 months on top of an annual budget;

In summary, total expenditure and net lending was P60.9 billion, against total revenues and grants of P46.5 billion, resulting budget deficit of P14.3 billion over the 11-month period (January – November 2020). To finance this budget deficit, government borrowed P1.7 billion (net) through the bond issuance programme while the balance was financed by drawing down P12.6 billion from government savings (GIA) at the Bank of Botswana. This resulted in the reduction of the Government Investment Account from P17.8 billion in December 2019 to P5.6 billion in November 2020.

Dr. Wilfred Mandlebe

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