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Finance ministry unveils new strategic plan

Publishing Date : 07 August, 2018

Author : REARABILWE RAMAPHANE

Ministry of Finance and Economic Development this week launched its new frameworks contained in the six and five-year strategic plan and communications strategy respectively.


The ministry’ strategic plan, envisioned to drive the country‘s close monitoring and management of its fiscal and finance matters as well as maintaining economic stability has been running since 2017, and  will be implemented until 2023, while the new  communication strategy will be implemented from this year until 2023. Ministry of Finance has the vital mandate of coordination of national development planning; monitoring implementation, mobilising and managing financial and economic resources.


Minister Matambo noted that his ministry has been able to vehemently deliver on this mandate for years, guiding Botswana’s Macroeconomic frameworks and fiscal policies and protecting the country against domestic and global economic challenges. The cardinal deliverables in the new strategic plans intends to come up with economic stimulus initiatives that are designed to boost economic activity, while at the same time avoiding the risk of burdening the economy with unsustainable public spending.


“The whole point is to predominately help the country mitigate any looming threat from both internal and external threats such as domestic fiscal collapse and global economic recession,” he said.  Matambo underscored that as the ministry in charge of public coffers, one of its key functions was to guard against misuse of public funds and reckless government spending.


“Inability to save for tough economic times is a window for various problems such as reduced availability of fiscal buffers needed to stimulate the economy in rough times; this also reduces the average portion of public finances available for long term investments in infrastructure, health or education in turn disrupting countries’ long-term development outlook,” he said.


To ensure the ministry harness maximum benefit from the plan, the ministry partially outsourced the formulation of the strategic plan to take advantage of available expertise and technical skills in the private sector while the communication strategy was developed in-house by a steering committee comprising of representatives from respective divisions within the ministry, under the leadership and guidance of senior management.


 “The launch of these two documents sets out the ministry’s goals and objectives, gearing the ministry ‘s readiness and in full swing to the achievement of the priorities of the country’s  eleventh National Development Plan (NDP 11) and ultimately the pillars of Vision 2036 and by extension, the sustainable development goals,” explained Matambo


Matambo said the ministry’s strategic plan contained eight key priority areas being accelerated implementation of the public finance management reforms; strengthening of monitoring and evaluation; re-engineering and automation of systems and processes; improving production of timely and accurate statistical information; implementing the initiative to increase and widen revenue base; improving project management processes; enhancing critical skills and transitioning to the new fiscal rules.


In order to enable successful implementation of these priorities, the ministry divided the strategic goals into three strategic themes, namely operational excellence, macroeconomic and financial management excellence and strategic partnerships.  “These are expected to steer the focus towards our vision of becoming leaders and a model of excellence in financial and economic management for the prosperity of this country,” said Matambo


Giving an update on the ministry’s recent undertakings Matambo noted that inflation declined from 8.2 per cent in 2009 to between 3 per cent and 6 per cent since June 2013 to date. He highlighted that the Ministry improved regulatory framework of the country’s financial sector by setting up a Financial Stability Council in a bid to close-up and tighten oversight coordination.


The council consists of high ranking officials from Bank of Botswana together with Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) working with the Financial Intelligence Agency. The Council primarily focuses on coordinated macro-prudential monitoring, analysis and response with respect to any financial system imbalances or distress.


Matambo explained that the council will reinforce collaboration, cooperation and communication amongst the relevant authorities to achieve comprehensive monitoring and enforcement of legislation and regulations in order to maintain integrity and stability of the financial system.
The ministry also recently introduced and rolled out automated systems like the Integrated Procurement Management System (IPMS) under the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB), e-filling and e-payment of tax returns under Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS), electronic funds transfer system under Office of the Accountant General and decentralisation of some services to ministries and departments in their regional offices.


The Special Elected Member of Parliament, who has been Finance Minister since 2009 added that lack of preparedness for sluggish economic times, causes fiscal challenges.  “This requires us to restrain and control as well as prioritize public spending in a period of modest growth, and be keen to  negative external shocks, such as oil price increases ,mineral commodities  that may arise anytime unexpected,” emphasised Matambo.

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