As Botswana battles a third wave of infections, an extra budget of 1.13 billion pula ($100 million) is needed to help secure COVID-19 vaccines and equipment Finance Minister Peggy Serame told parliament on Tuesday.
“A sum of 1.13 billion pula is requested as additional funding under the Ministry of Health and Wellness,” Serame said ahead of a debate in parliament to be held in the next couple of days to approve or reject the additional funding.
“The amount is required for the procurement of medical supplies, mainly vaccines and associated medical items such as syringes, needles and surgical masks,” she said during a presentation on the 2021/22 supplementary budget.
The extra money is almost triple the sum originally allocated in February to fight the coronavirus, but 70% of this money had already been depleted by July, Serame told lawmakers.
Botswana’s supplementary budget will be financed by drawing on special funds and reallocating some money from the development budget, Serame said.
However, prospects for a projected economic rebound of 8.8% this year have faded due to the heavy impact of COVID-19 and associated restrictions on movement in the diamond-rich country, Serame said.
The World Bank in June approved a $250 million loan to support the southern Africa nation’s economic recovery efforts.
So far, only 161,000 out of its 2.3 million population have been fully vaccinated, according to the latest Health Ministry data.