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BB calls for Fund to diversify mining towns

ONALENNA KELEBEILE
SELEBI-PHIKWE: Business Botswana has made a call for government to create a Fund that will finance diversification of economies of mining towns.

Vice president, Palalani Moitlhobogi said at a Pitso held recently that the seed funding should be made up of mine closure plan funds and that pension funds should be incentivised to invest.

He explained that the specialised Fund that would focus on the economic stabilisation and diversification of mining towns is premised on the fact that mining is a finite activity and therefore at some stage operations would stop.

“What we propose is that there be a Fund set up using amongst others, the mine rehabilitation funds for the specific operation as a base and other funders can be encouraged to contribute to this Fund,” he added.

He said the main purpose in addition to funding rehabilitation activities would be to diversify the economy of the locality away from mining activities. 

“We are assuming that there is a legislation in place that states that each mining company is required to contribute to a rehabilitation fund for the area it operates in.

Our position is that the funding should not be managed by the entity doing mining operations. There are rumours that BCL Mine was mining its own mining rehabilitation fund and nobody knows what happened to it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Moitlhobogi said in his presentation on the role of private sector in job creation that they advocate for business environment reforms conducive for the start-ups, development and growth of the private sector. 

He said

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it is also to advocate for laws, policies and programmes that would build the capacity of its members through the provision of appropriate business development services and procurement.

He added that as unemployment continues to be a major challenge in the country, it was vital that both private and public sectors work together to combat the challenge through measures such as effective use of national resources, offer investment incentives, conduct business environment review, curb corruption as well as to create tripartite monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

He also mentioned that government and private sectors should effectively position themselves to utilise the state’s resources to drive development and create meaningful employment.

“There should be balance in spending on social development and economic development infrastructure. In order for the private sector to create employment, government must allow businesses to be run by the private sector and act as a policy facilitator over resources and ensure that investment opportunities are maximised for the private sector,” he said.

He said the private sector commends government’s efforts to create a conducive environment for foreign investors and foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, but also encouraged government to consider incentivising investments from within. “Local funds can be channelled to areas that need them. Moitlhobogi further said that sustainable enterprises thrive better in an open and transparent environment and therefore efforts at eliminating corruption must be intensified.



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