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MP calls for relaxation of expatriate permits

Staff Writer
Member of Parliament for Molepolole South Daniel Kwelagobe has requested government to relax some of the requirements expatriates need to meet before they can be given residence permits.

He said there is too much scrutiny on the applicants and they give up and opt for other competing countries in the region resulting in slow economic growth for Botswana.

Kwelagobe said the Ipelegeng programme could be used in the construction of council houses and dams instead of cutting grass in cities, that will ultimately grow within a month.

Like other MPs, Kwelagobe called on government to come up with a legislation on Citizen economic empowerment. This is a song that MPs have been singing over the past 10 years. He said that major contractors who win big jobs sideline Batswana small companies and they transfer all the money to their own economies. He suggested that the C EE legislation prescribe how much should go to local companies in major projects. He said that the same was done with the arrival of mobile phones in the late 90s and many Batswana acquired shares which they now trade.

Kwelagobe welcomed government efforts towards improving agriculture but requested that all promises made to farmers be fulfilled. He expressed concern at the manner in which some farmers do not take care of their fields after ploughing under government

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schemes. He said farmers should be encouraged to weed their fields if they want to increase their harvest.

Meanwhile MP for Kgatleng East Gilbert Mangole commended Bank of Botswana for escaping the recent global financial crisis and having managed local inflation to a controllable figure. He said that government made a good decision not to cut spending during recession saying the action kept the economy active during this time. Like other MPs who spoke before him, Mangole called for a legislation on citizen economic empowerment. He said the small population of Botswana makes it difficult for investors to open profitable businesses.
He said that he fully supports privatization as some sectors could only do better in the hands of private companies.

He suggestion that government use foreign reserves to increase the salaries of civil servants. He explained that in international practice, a country must have foreign reserves enough to keep its exports going for six months but Botswana has enough for 20 months. The MP said that it is not fair for government not to increase salaries of civil servants when at the same time it expects them to deliver.



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