Last Updated
Thursday 18 December 2014, 14:58 pm.
Trade proposals pass, Nasha wants her share

Not even the announcement by Local Government Minister Margaret Nasha of her last presentation of proposals to the committee of parliament sparked any vigour in the mundane proceedings of the House early this week.
By Staff Writer Fri 19 Dec 2014, 20:10 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Trade proposals pass, Nasha wants her share








In keeping with the prevailing mood, rising to the highest crescendo when Chairman, Thebe Mogami, interjected to get Botlhogile Tshireletso, to whip her troops into the required quorum, if only to hear Nasha mope: "Since this will be my last presentation of this nature to Parliament because I will not be standing in the general election that is upon us, I should wish all those who are going to stand good luck.  And may the best candidate win".

There was no applause.  No heads turned.  In that carefree Ngwaketse manner, the lady known as 'Nnananyana' to her best friends pronounced figures in the billions of Pula that would have shocked Gaolese Koma and Kebatlamang Morake - perhaps even Seretse Khama himself - who administered a national budget that was only double the size of the then population of Botswana at ...say R500,000.

Nasha spoke about a budget in the vicinity of the P6 billion, suggesting that much of that will go towards setting up district administration, and care and building of roads that analysts had predicted last year, at the end of NDP 9.

Her introductory remarks suggested that the administrative victory of the campaigners who were able to gain a rise in tender ceilings to P10 million would help with facilitating implementation of projects.

"Some of the projects we do are in the region of about P5 million and so on, so we will no longer have to go through the old cumbersome procedure to get approval for projects below P10 million," Nasha celebrated, only then lifting her voice a gentle bit.

"There have also been delays on account of fluctuations in the volatile fuel process compelling the ministry to do follow re-tendering procedures on account of the re-costing of the projects".

Nasha had found the afternoon session speedily flashing through the proposals of Minister of Trade and Commerce, Neo Moroka.

One of the topical issues in the debate of the trade budget debate revolved around the readiness of Botswana, particularly in light of the impending need for the country to market itself at the 2010 World Cup as a distinct tourism destination, with respect to laws on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights legislation and administration.

It was established, in response to queries raised by MPs, Tshireletso and Kavis Kario, that an officer was appointed at the Trade Ministry last year and that there is ongoing discussion about the establishment of a collecting society.

The irrepressible Botsalo Ntuane, having thrown in the towel on the debate around the Trade and Liquor Act, wanted to know the damage done in terms of loss of jobs and further development of the entertainment industry.

Even butcheries were closing down on account of petty regulations that seek to disallow barbecuing or braaing of meat near the shops. 

The debarring of sale of condoms at bars was not doing the battle against HIV any good, he pointed out.

The cumulative effect of the pressures on the 'quality of life of the Batswana' resulting from decreased employment and business closures by decree of the oracle could prove costly at the election, Ntuane reflected.

Members also sought clarity on the definition of the 'traditional beer' which, it is planned, ought to fall under the ambit of the new regulations under the refurbished liquor laws limiting trading hours at social clubs, night spots, bars and restaurants.

Pivotal to the definition of the Minister of Trade, it emerged from his rounding up response, was that anything and everything that was 'fermented' and 'sold under license' would qualify as traditional beer under the law.

He left it to common sense to judge that home brew sold outside of a license would not be included in the schedule of 'beer' products as described in the law.

The general sentiment of the parliamentarians was that hone brewed traditional beer was a cultural commodity, less harmless than the products that would legally fall under the definition of alcohol, and it has in the past helped to contribute to household income.

The 60-metre road reserve requirement also served as a barrier to development, parliamentarians complained.  The example of the stalling of a P25million development at the Mochudi shopping enclave was cited as an example.

The parliamentarians called for invigoration of the cooperatives system and vigilance in management, particularly in the keep9ing of books of accounts.

The National Development Bank (NDB), LEA and CEDA should be harmonised, allowing villages and towns access to all of them, urged the MPs.

Keletso Rakhudu, Botswana representatives on one of the African Union (AU) commissions, pointed out what he called the 'collapse of the Kenyan sugar industry' because of blind compliance regimented policies of the European Community (EC) countries and trade regulations set by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

He wanted renegotiation of the chapter of the Cotonou agreement dealing with trade, to be accommodated in the new instruments agreed 'with great care in the interest of the southern African and continental trading blocs' so that their individual and collective interests should not be undermined by the more roundly constituted European blocs.

Moroka, pleaded with the assembly to be patient with the marketing of the 'Botswana brand' which has come under scrutiny in both the arts community and Parliament.

Ntuane, raising the subject yet another time, described the insignia as 'bland and unattractive'.

It depends on one's point of view, Moroka responded, pleading that Parliament should pass his proposals, in which he succeeded, getting P425 million for 'organisation and P108 million for development.



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