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P24m shortfall for live broadcasting project

Live broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings requires close to P27 million, says  clerk of the National Assembly, Ms Barbara Dithapo.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, Ms Dithapo said Parliament was previously allocated P3.7 million for scoping and piloting of the project, over P24 million short of the required amount.

She said the piloting of the live broadcast project has since been halted due to financial constraints and delays in completion of other key logistics.

Successful implementation of the project, Ms Dithapo said,   called for sufficient planning on regulatory framework and resource stabilisation.

It was important for all necessary measures to be in place prior to the implementation of the project as it falls within the scope of taking Parliament to the people, she said.

 Ms Dithapo said the project’s broadcasting guidelines were currently being drafted and would be submitted to Parliament thereafter.

 She said in addition to  financial constraints, Parliament did not have the technical ability as well as the personnel to successfully execute the project.

“…Parliament has to collaborate with other stakeholders in place to see how best to fit within the existing government broadcasting system,” she said.

 Further, Ms Dithapo decried understaffing at parliament as well as constituency officers, whose tenure was tied to MPs time in office.

Parliament staff complement  currently stood at 25 per cent hence timely service delivery was compromised.

On other issues, Ms Dithapo said accommodation for MPs at the Parliamentary Village would be reviewed in the near future as housing legislators in one complex could be a security threat. 

On other issues, Ms Dithapo said a total of 40 bills were tabled during the 2018/19 financial year with 35 of them adopted.

 Reacting, PAC members decried the slow execution of the adopted motion on live broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings.

Francistown South legislator, Mr Wynter Mmolotsi said it was disappointing that the motion had not been implemented despite being adopted in the 10th Parliament.

Mr Mmolotsi also urged the clerk of the National Assembly to revisit rolling out the ‘Botswana Speaks’ programme which served to get citizens better connected with their representatives as well as to give people the opportunity to get involved in the national decision-making process.

Another legislator, Mr Taolo Lucas  for Bobonong,  said live broadcast of Parliament proceedings would encourage members of the public to take a keen interest in parliamentary business and help to reduce voter apathy.

Francistown West MP, Mr Ignatius Moswaane called for the independence of Parliament which he said would strengthen its oversight role and enable it to independently submit its budget proposals.

 He said it was important for MPs to be fully orientated on drafting of private members’ bills.

For his part, Tonota South legislator Mr  Pono Moathodi said live broadcasting of Parliament  proceedings  would encourage voters to hold their MPs accountable on the delivery of services in their constituencies. 

Live broadcasting would also offer the public a platform to understand MPs’ stances on issues of public interest. Ends

 

 

Source : BOPA

Author : Thato Mosinyi

Location : Gaborone

Event : Public Accounts Committee

Date : Jul 09 Thu,2020

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