15 Feb 2019
On Thursday, Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo said Botswana is planning to transition to a budget surplus in 2020, following three consecutive years of deficits – NewsDay reports.
When speaking in a budget speech on Monday, Matambo revealed that Botswana is expecting a budget deficit at approximately 3.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, which is the same as 2018’s estimated shortfall.
Matambo told a media briefing on Monday that this year’s 3.5% deficit, amounting to 7 billion pula, will be funded from borrowing from local or foreign markets and drawing down of cash reserves.
“We have had three years of budget deficits and this was a deliberate move to try and boost the economy,” he said.
“Through a combination of expenditure control and expansion of revenue sources, including widening of the tax base we plan to return to modest surpluses in the financial year beginning April 2020.”
He said that China had agreed to lend 10 billion pula to Botswana to be used on capital projects, adding it would not leave the country susceptible to any concerns surrounding debt.
“We have not signed yet but they have agreed to lend us the money, which will be useful when it comes. Concerns have been raised about African countries getting loans from China, but I want to clearly say that I have got not issues with getting money from China’s long as the terms are right,” he said.
Mineral revenue is Botswana’s highest contributor to the budget, totalling to 35.62% of total revenues.