Swazi­land can reach first world, but…

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - By Mbono Md­luli Mat­sapha

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.

Ex­am­ple

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.

Op­por­tu­ni­ties

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.

WHAT STEPS TO TAKE: Mang­con­gco MP Pa­trick Pha Motsa.

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