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Botswana Country needs $123 million more to cope with drought, power shortages

A total of 192 million pula will be provided to the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) to replace leaking pipes, which have been blamed for shortages in financial hub and capital Gaborone.

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Security guards arrive with dogs for their shift at a power station in Gaborone, Botswana, November 23, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko play Security guards arrive with dogs for their shift at a power station in Gaborone, Botswana, November 23, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (Reuters)

Botswana's Finance Ministry has presented a supplementary budget to parliament, saying it needed an additional 1.34 billion pula ($123.28 million) for the 2015/16 financial year to fund measures to mitigate against water and power shortages.

The bulk of the money - 821 million pula - will be allocated to the state power utility to fund electricity imports and coal purchases, according to the supplementary budget estimates put before lawmakers on Tuesday.

A total of 192 million pula will be provided to the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) to replace leaking pipes, which have been blamed for shortages in financial hub and capital Gaborone.

The Ministry of Education will be allocated an additional 325 million pula for building schools and purchasing equipment.

Botswana, the world's biggest producer of diamonds, slashed its 2015 growth forecasts by almost half to 2.6 percent in September due to a steep drop in prices of the precious stone and the effect of power and water shortages.

Diamonds account for around 75 percent of Botswana's foreign exchange earnings and 30 percent of GDP, but gem demand has slowed since late 2014 as middlemen who buy rough stones struggle with a stronger dollar and liquidity problems. 

In September, the government forecast a deficit of 4.03 billion pula, or 2.6 percent of its gross domestic product for the 2015/16 fiscal year.

 

($1 = 10.8696 pula)

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