Mmegi Online :: Khama discusses economic strategies
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Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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Khama discusses economic strategies

Honourable Ministers, BOCCIM President and your Council Members, PSP and Senior Public Officers, Members of the Private Sector, Ladies and Gentlemen.
By Staff Writer Fri 07 Nov 2014, 15:23 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Khama discusses economic strategies








Let me from the outset welcome you all to this 37th meeting of the High Level Consultative Council.  

Allow me to take this opportunity to welcome new Cabinet Ministers to this forum.

I also extend a special welcome to the Vice Chairman of the Botswana Economic Advisory Council (BEAC), Mr. Gareth Penny whilst also acknowledging the presence of Mr Neo Moroka, another member of the BEAC.  

As Government, we have endeavoured to diversify the economy by promoting growth of the non-diamond sectors.

There is significant scope for Botswana to enhance export oriented value chains within sectors such as beef, financial services, tourism and other minerals to address the existing socio-economic challenges and improve our competitiveness.

Against this backdrop we need to launch a strong development agenda that learns from what we did right in the past and leverage on today’s opportunities to create more value for our people.

This calls for innovative methodologies of implementation of strategies which focus on the real needs of our people, especially the youth.

Whilst we pursue these policies we will also be mindful not to compromise the pristine environment that Botswana is renowned for.

Employment creation, food security and poverty eradication remain the key priorities for Government through programmes like ISPAAD, LIMID, Economic Diversification Drive, (EDD) the Housing Policy and Youth Empowerment Schemes to name a few.

In addition to the above measures, Government recently launched the Rapid Incubation Project with the aim of converting the unemployed into potential entrepreneurs by way of providing all support services under one roof.

The project facilitates low cost projects that could employ a number of people. This is yet another milestone in the Government’s efforts towards entrepreneurship, employment creation and eradication of poverty.

Development is correlated to the quality of the human capital. This is why Government remains committed to building a system of quality education that is able to adapt to the changing needs of the country.

The massive investment that has been made in this regard in past years will go a long way in empowering citizens to become producers of goods and services that will effectively compete in the global market.

On health issues, the Ebola outbreak has been severe for those affected countries, perhaps as a result of a slow response from the global community in respect to the epidemic.

In Botswana, the Ministry of Health has been working hard to intensify the country’s preparedness to make sure that systems are in place, whilst also urging Batswana to avoid travelling to the affected areas until the threat abates.  

 It therefore goes without saying that the need to improve integrity and transparency in business is a key element towards improving citizens’ and investors’ perception of the Botswana business climate.

It should be noted that efforts have been made before to engage the private sector with the collaboration between the DCEC and BOCCIM that created the Botswana Business Action Against Corruption (BAAC). BAAC was founded on the view that corruption can only be adequately addressed if cooperative alliances are built involving Business, Government and Civil Society.

BAAC therefore emphasises the importance of good corporate governance practices and tackling critical areas in the business environment which allow corruption to flourish.

One of the critical activities under the project included the development of the Code of Conduct for the Private Sector, which was launched in September 2011. It is, however disappointing to note that there is a slow uptake by the Private Sector to subscribe to the Code.

I have been informed that to date only 20 BOCCIM members have subscribed to it. Transparency International Botswana chapter is also not as active as expected. This is another initiative that has to be led by the private sector.

May I therefore urge the private sector through BOCCIM to be the driving force and join hands with the DCEC in preventing and combating corruption in this country.

On energy, Government recently established the Botswana Oil Company to ensure a continual and secure supply of petroleum products. The strategic storage facility at Rasesa will be used to store both strategic and commercial stocks

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as well as serve as a future cross border fuel supply terminal.

 Emerging opportunities in mining and beneficiation in other minerals has resulted in the establishment of the Mineral Development Company. We are hopeful that these two initiatives will enable and create further opportunities for the private sector.

 Our power station, Morupule B, which for quite some time has been struggling to operate at full capacity and has of recent experienced breakdowns, thereby compelling Government to source power from the SADC power pool.

This is a sensitive area that supports the daily industrial and business operations in the economy. In this context, to curb energy deficits and to enhance national energy security, Government continues to find ways of diversifying our resources of clean energy production of quality and at a lower cost. We shall therefore, continue to explore renewable energy sources.

The challenges with the provision of water have abated largely because of the replacement of the damaged pipes on the North - South Carrier (NSC 1). As you would be aware, to further improve the water situation, Government is constructing the second pipeline from Moralane to Mmamashia water treatment plant which is intended to supply water to other areas.  

The agreement between Botswana and Namibia over the construction of the Trans Kalahari Railway Line has ultimately been signed, whilst the ground breaking for the construction of the Kazungula bridge between Botswana and Zambia has been commissioned. These developments will ease movement and open up trade with the rest of the world. The Walvis Bay Dry Port for Botswana has been constructed and is ready for use.

 On another matter, the Botswana Telecommunication Corporation Limited Initial Public Offer (IPO) is due to go public during the course of this month. shares of 49 percent have been reserved for citizens and citizen owned companies including 5 percent for BTC employees whilst 51% remains with the Government to be used for citizen empowerment in the future.

 With regard to international rankings, it is pleasing to note that independent international ratings such as the Afro-Barometer, World Economic Forum, International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and others, continue to portray Botswana favourably.

However, more needs to be done to improve Botswana’s competitiveness in the global arena. In the past few years, we have not seen much improvement especially in areas related to productivity. Poor work ethics is one of the challenges that we are still to address as a nation.

To this end it is the commitment of the Government to continue embarking on reform to improve service delivery to the nation.

In the last meeting I indicated that Cluster development has been adopted as a pragmatic strategy to achieve economic diversification.

This strategy will promote and enhance non-diamond sectors to be reliable sources of export-led economic growth and employment creation for this country. The presentations to come will highlight the progress made so far as well as how initiatives for future growth have developed.  

Allow me to conclude with some focus on the agenda for this meeting. Those who attended the last three meetings will recall that we have been having presentations from certain sectors such as Diamond, Tourism, Beef, Education and Financial Services and this was meant to stimulate dialogue on the key areas of our economy. Today we shall receive presentations from the Mining sector as well as the Botswana Innovation Hub.

As said before, the areas that we are focusing on are the areas that we are working on to develop export focused clusters in an effort to boost our drive to diversify the economy.

As usual, the Ministerial sector reports will then be made on the basis that the issues for discussion will only be those which are being escalated for resolution and decisions, and which could not be resolved at the sectoral meetings.I think it is important that we keep to this agreement that we made in previous meetings.

Finally, I would like to urge you to energise yourselves to move with passion and pride in our journey towards inclusive growth and sustainable development.

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