- Two-year transitional plan to be implemented
- Interim plan devised to accommodate 2024 elections
- Interim plan to will be partial to high impact projects
In its special meeting on 6 October 2022, Parliament approved a decision to defer implementation of National Development Plan 12 (NDP 12) to April 2025 and to develop and implement a Transitional National Development Plan from 1st April 2023.
The current NDP, which is NDP11, is scheduled to end on 31 March 2023. According to Batho Molomo, the interim Coordinator of the National Planning Commission (NPC), implementation of NDP 12 has been deferred to effect from the financial year 2025/26 to take into account several reforms that need to be conducted on the planning system.
In the interim, a two-year Transitional National Development Plan (TNDP) is being developed for the financial years 2023/24 to 2024/25. Molomo said NDP 12 is being deferred in order to ensure that the development planning process is coherent and well aligned to the country’s aspirations of achieving high-income status by 2036. “This is to facilitate a thorough and inclusive consultation process that takes into account a variety of inputs during the formulation of the plan,” he said in response to a question in an interview.
“Furthermore, the National Planning Commission was established through the ongoing rationalisation exercise within government. The establishment of the organisation did not influence the decision to defer the NDP 12. “It was a government decision, considering that there are transformative reforms that need to be conducted if Botswana is to achieve the ideals of Vision 2036.”
Molomo explained that the National Planning Commission has assumed the functions of the erstwhile National Strategy Office, the Government Implementation Coordination Office, the Vision 2036 Coordinating Agency and the planning structures of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Some details on the structure are still being worked out but for this financial year all merged entities will bring their approved 2022/23 resources to the National Planning to enable it to carry out its mandate.
A budget proposal has been prepared to cater for preliminary financial and human resource operational requirements for the 2023/4 financial year. Molomo explained that no pre-planned developments will be halted as a result of the deferment of NDP 12. Infact, he said, the two-year TNDP will be prioritised to cover ongoing projects, including of District and Urban Development Plans, some which have not yet been implemented owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.
Molomo emphasised that the transitional NDP will be partial to high impact projects that have the potential to facilitate economic growth, taking into account national policy priority areas that are in line with the broader transformation of the economy. In his presentation in Parliament on 6 October, the Minister of State President, Kabo Morwaeng, said Botswana’s development planning system is well established and has been in place for nearly six decades.
Minister Morwaeng noted that since independence, national development planning has been executed under the portfolio of the ministry responsible for finance and development planning, supported by local level planning under the ministry responsible for local government. At the national level, through a rationalisation exercise, the system was recently reformed with the separation of planning from financing, resulting in establishment of the National Planning Commission. These reforms, Morwaeng said, are in line with Vision 2036 which has recognised that “there may be a need for reforms, review of structures, processes and legal frameworks”. He noted: “It has since been observed that more reforms need to be undertaken on the planning system if Botswana is to achieve the ideals of Vision 2036.”
Some of the identified key issues to be addressed through the reforms are the need to ensure that development planning and implementation are sufficiently responsive and adaptive to achieving the much-needed structural transformation in the economy to address problems of unemployment, poverty and inequality, along with slowing economic growth. Significantly, Morwaeng noted that the planning cycle is not aligned with the electoral cycle, and there is no clear process by which a newly elected administration can influence the content of a plan.
There is also a widening misalignment between district and urban planning and national development planning, noting that the process has not adequately facilitated an improved preparation, costing and appraisal of development projects for effective transformation through prioritisation of high-impact projects. “With NDP 11 coming to an end on the 31st March 2023 and implementation of NDP 12 expected to commence on the 1st April 2023, the period may not be sufficient to fully develop and introduce the reforms to the planning system,” said the minister.
It is therefore imperative to delay development and implementation of NDP12 to allow for institutionalisation of the reforms to be undertaken. To that end, Minister Morwaeng successfully asked Parliament to approve Molomo’s two-year Transitional National Development Plan that he tabled before the House for implementation from 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2025.