SWAZILAND can reach the first world status, only if it adopts the right approach to budgeting, which is the programme-based budgeting.
This was said by Sterling Afrika’s facilitator Austin Bolatimi. He said this last Thursday during a workshop held at Esibayeni Lodge in Matsapha, which was themed: ‘Prioritising public sector and resource allocation in hard economic times.’
The workshop, which was organised for MPs who are in the finance session al committee, started on Monday and ended last Thursday.
It was facilitated by Sterling Afrika Training and Consultancy, which is based in Pretoria, South Africa.
Bolatimi, when making his presentation, said he had seen that the country was planning to attain the first world status by 2022. He saw this on one of the bill boards along the Manzi ni Mbabane highway. The facilitator was of the view that the country had to adopt budgeting that focused on programmes aimed at developing the country, like adopting the public private partnership (PPP).
He said the PPP would help in skills and job sharing between the organisations that would be taking part in the projects.
He also made an example of King Mswati III International Airport in Sikhuphe. He said the airport was one of the projects that showed that the country wanted to reach the first world status, but it should be part of a programme that included many projects to take the country where it wanted to be. He also advised the country to break down its development plans into shorter periods in order to easily achieve its goals.
It would also be wise for the country, Bolatimi advised, to empower its citizens, especially the youth in sectors of science and technology. This would help the country to be able to use the infrastructure it was developing to become the first world status.
This would also give more employment opportunities to the country. He said this after he was asked by Mangcongco MP Patrick Pha Motsa. He wanted to know what the country had to do to stimulate employment, especially amongst the youth.
Bolatimi also advised that it was imperative for this country, or any country for that matter, to instil a good budget performance in government ministries and departments. He was of the view that the ministries or departments that did not implement developmental programmes should be penalised for that. There was no way in which punishment could be avoided and expect development.
Bolatimi’s sentiment, however, was met with mixed feelings, especially Uganda’ s Member of Parliament( MP) Abraham Byandala. He said the problem was that at times, the punishment could be unfair on other ministries and departments.
Byandala, a former Ugandan cabinet minister, said some resources were distributed late to the projects that were supposed to be helped. Even banks could not be efficient in approving loans that would finance the projects because the financiers like the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) were always in and out of countries. So it took a long time for them to approve loans to finance projects. Bolatimi said it was important to also look at the conditions when assessing the performance of government ministries and departments. It was also important to assess the performance of ministries tasked with disbursing funds that had to finance projects.
Published in the Swazi Observer on 2 May 2017 by Mbono Mdluli Matsapha