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Republic of Botswana

Budget Speech 2006

Delivered to the National Assembly on 6th February, 2006

By Honourable Baledzi Gaolathe
Minister of Finance and Development Planning

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  1. Mr. Speaker, I have the honour this afternoon to present to the National Assembly budget proposals for the 2006/2007 financial year. The budget proposals are based on the Mid-Term Review of NDP 9, approved by this Honourable House in December, 2005.

  2. Botswana has faced many challenges since Independence in 1966. By successfully meeting those challenges, rapid economic growth was achieved, which made Batswana better off. One of the major ambitions set out in Vision 2016 is to continue that growth to ensure that “Botswana will be a prosperous, productive and innovative nation”. It is in keeping with this ambition that I have chosen “Building an Innovative Economy for the 21st Century” to be the theme for this year’s Budget Speech.

  3. Mr. Speaker, a rapidly growing, productive and innovative economy is one that continues to invest in human and physical capital, and channels that investment into productive activities. The result is an economy that is employing its growing labour force, thereby reducing poverty, and is capable of withstanding adverse global shocks. Central to a more productive and innovative economy is the overall business climate, with stronger and more efficient markets, enabling the introduction of new products and services, or innovative ways of designing, producing and marketing. It follows that there will be an expansion of highly productive activities, while less productive activities may contract. In some cases, innovation comes through investment in research and technology, using Information and Communications Technology. This strategy also means selective importation of skills and technology, and adapting such to local conditions. In short, in the 21st century, emphasis on innovation will enable us to compete in the global economy, and meet the challenges set out in Vision 2016.

  4. This theme challenges all stakeholders to take stock of their past strategies, and refine them, or devise new ones if necessary. The private sector, for instance, needs to strengthen its ability to be innovative in order to compete in world markets. This involves continuously searching for, and implementing, best global practices in business financing, marketing and production. The private sector must also set targets of where they need to be in Research and Development, as well as in terms of the share of the private sector sales attributable to new innovations. With regard to labour, there have been concerns about our workers’ unsatisfactory attitude towards work, and inadequate focus on the customer. In this connection, our labour has to strive for improved productivity and international best practice work ethics in order to further enhance Botswana’s competitiveness. On its part, Government will continue to create a conducive environment that facilitates private sector growth. A significant part of that conducive environment is the assurance that foreign investors are welcome in Botswana.

  5. Mr. Speaker, building an innovative economy will assist in addressing today’s national challenges, such as poverty alleviation, economic diversification, combating HIV/AIDS and reducing unemployment. The strategies identified in the Mid-Term Review of NDP 9 are all aimed at addressing these challenges in more innovative ways. They include, adoption of a Fiscal Rule, extending the principle of cost sharing and recovery to services that have traditionally been provided freely by Government, public sector reforms, promoting efficiency in the parastatal sector, accelerating the transition rate from junior to senior secondary schools, and increasing resources available for youth programmes.

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