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State Of The Nation Address 2019 [Full text]

MOKGWEETSI MASISI
Mokgweetsi Masisi PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
State Of The Nation Address by Presidnet Mokgweetsi Masisi to the First Meeting of the First Session of the 12th Parliament

INTRODUCTION

Mister Speaker, before I address this August House, I would like to request that we observe a moment of silence in remembrance of former Members of Parliament who have departed during the course of the year. Amen. I would like to thank Batswana for demonstrating a sense of political maturity and tolerance during the just ended general elections which were characterised by respect for one another, peace and transparency.

Honourable Members, this being the first time that I report on our progress in the last twelve months immediately after our general elections, it is critical for me to present my Government‘s achievements and priorities as we chart the way forward in terms of responding to the needs of Batswana.

Mister Speaker, during my Inauguration Speech on 1st November 2019, I made a number of policy pronouncements which are part of my development roadmap which seeks to propel this country to greater heights, chief amongst them being the National Transformation Strategy which is the blueprint for my Government’s Development Agenda.

Our current National Development Plan 11 (2017– 2023) is being reviewed and it is an opportune time for us to accommodate current issues and trends that will address the many challenges that we continue to face as a developing country. It is my fervent hope that Honourable Members will work with my Government to ensure that we achieve our development objectives whose aim is to improve the welfare of Batswana and to ensure that “No One is Left Behind’’.

 

GLOBAL ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

 

Mister Speaker, According to the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook update released in October 2019, global economic activity slowed down, largely due to heightened trade tensions between the United States of America (USA) and the People’s Republic of China, as well as the weakening business and consumer confidence, which worsened financial market sentiments in emerging markets.

However, the US has since responded by implementing a flexible monetary policy stance and markets have now become more optimistic about the US-China trade deal. On the basis of the foregoing, global growth is now projected to slow from 3.6 percent in 2018 to 3.0 percent in 2019. Growth is however anticipated to revert to the 2018 level in 2020, by registering a 3.6 percent increase. The anticipated recovery in 2020 is predicated on fiscal policy stimulus that is being implemented in

China.

For emerging markets, growth is projected to stabilise, slightly below 5 percent, whereas in Sub-Saharan Africa growth is anticipated to reach 3.2 percent in 2019 and 3.6 percent in 2020. The growth rates anticipated for both 2019 and 2020 represent slight downward revisions by 1.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, owing to a decline in growth for the Republic of Angola and the Republic of Nigeria.

 

 

 

THE DOMESTIC ECONOMY

Mister Speaker, the domestic economic growth increased to reach 4.5 percent in 2018, following a growth of 2.9 percent recorded in 2017. This significant increase was spear-headed by the Transport and Communications, Mining and Water as well as the Electricity sectors, albeit with a decline in water and electricity value addition in the fourth quarter of 2018. The decline in the water and electricity sectors, was attributed to a plant shutdown in Morupule B, which resulted in a slowdown in domestic production which triggered an increase in demand for imported electricity.

On the domestic outlook, the economy is forecast to grow on average by 4.4 percent in the medium-term. Specifically, the economy is currently forecast to grow by 3.6 percent and 4.4 percent in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The positive prospects for the medium term outlook are underpinned by an anticipated increase in non-mining sectors. Within the non-mining sector, Trade, Hotels and Restaurants, Finance and Banking as well as the Transport and Communications sectors are anticipated to also contribute positively to economic growth.

 

Inflation

Mister Speaker, in 2018, the inflation rate fluctuated between 2.8 percent and 3.8 percent, resulting in an average inflation rate of 3.2 percent. This reflects the Bank of Botswana’s ability to maintain inflation within its objective range of 3 to 6 percent. Inflation is anticipated to continue to remain within the Bank’s objective range in the medium term.

 

Foreign Exchange Reserves

Mister Speaker, As at December 2018, foreign exchange reserves stood at Seventy One billion, Four Hundred Million Pula (P71.4 billion), which represented a decline by 3.2 percent, compared to Seventy Three Billion, Seven Hundred million Pula (P73.7 billion) recorded in the same month in 2017. However, as at August 2019, foreign exchange reserves stood at Seventy Four Billion, Two Hundred Million Pula (P74.2 billion), an increase by 3.9 percent compared to the level attained in December, 2018. This increase was due to gains from asset price changes, exchange rate movements and income on reserves. The level of reserves in August 2019 is equivalent to 15 months of import cover of goods and services. Of the total amount of reserves of Seventy Four Billion, Two Hundred Million Pula (P74.2 billion), Nineteen Billion, Five Hundred Million Pula (P19.5 billion) or 26 percent is attributed to the Government Investment Account.

 

Exchange Rate Movements

8. Mister Speaker, the Pula nominal exchange rate appreciated by 2.4 percent against the South African Rand, while it depreciated by 1.7 percent against the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) in the twelve months to September 2019. The depreciation of the Pula against the SDR further suggests that Botswana’s export competitiveness remained positive, especially in the markets of advanced economies. Additionally, the Pula continued to show signs of a stable Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER). The REER however depreciated by 0.3 percent in the twelve months to August 2019, reflecting a lower inflation rate in Botswana compared to that of its trading partners.

 

 

BUSINESS FACILITATION

9. Mister Speaker, we will continuously improve the doing business environment and competitiveness of our enterprises through close monitoring and evaluation of all our processes and procedures, as well as the regulatory framework with a view to remove impediments. When I took Office, I promised to create jobs and this cannot be achieved without rolling out the red carpet for sustainable and impactful investment. We are challenged by our market size as an economy, therefore we must come up with deliberate interventions to promote export oriented businesses which will be achieved through the Botswana Export Development Programme (BEDP), the Special Economic Zones (SEZ’s) and regional integration.

10. To facilitate the ease of doing business in the country, Government is reviewing both the Immigration Act to make sure that it effectively enables the employment of non-citizens and the Point Based System to make the assessment of work permits applications fair, objective and more transparent. Furthermore, the automation of the work permit process will be carried out to improve the turnaround time for the processing of applications.

11. Moreover Government is in the process of developing a secure and

integrated system that will interface the business sector with the

immigration and civil registration systems to ensure service efficiency by

Government. This will be achieved through facilitation of online services

especially for critical functions such as VISA applications, the processing

of Work and Residence Permits and the development of the electronic

identity document.

12. The Online Business Registration (OBRS) which went live in June this

year, has resulted in the reduction of the Starting-a-Business Indicator

processes from nine to seven days, as it has combined name reservation,

declaration and registration to become a single service. The OBRS has

also reduced the average turnaround time for companies and business

name registration as well as the Starting-a-Business sub-indicator from

an average of five days to one day and from Forty eight (48) days to

thirty seven (37) days, respectively.

13. Between June and September 2019, a total of fifty two thousand, three

hundred and seventy (52 370) companies were registered of which forty

one thousand, three hundred and sixty three (41 363) were reregistrations and eleven thousand and seven (11 007) being new

registrations. The total revenue collected from registrations amounted

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to Eighteen Million, Two Hundred and Forty Thousand, Four Hundred

and Fifty Nine Pula and Seventy Four Thebe (P18 240 459.74).

14. The integration of the OBRS with other systems such as that of the

Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS), the Civil and National

Registration system and the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal

Board (PPADB) has been completed and is operational. The last phase

which will enable companies to file annual returns online has commenced

and will be completed in March 2020.

15. Government is also in the process of amending the Environmental Impact

Assessment Act and its Regulations with a view to reducing the

turnaround time for evaluating the Environmental Impact Assessment

(EIA) project documents. The review of the EIA legislative instruments

has taken long due to the consultative and technically complex nature of

the process, but it is anticipated that this will be concluded during the

current financial year.

16. To further improve starting a business, Government has enacted both the

Trade and Industrial Development Amendment Acts, which will go a long

way in reducing the number of days for starting a business in Botswana

from forty eight (48) to thirteen (13) days. This has enabled Government

to do away with licensing of businesses that do not have health and safety

risks. The licenses will now be issued over the counter thus enhancing

the country’s performance in the country’s Competiveness Index.

Furthermore, the Industrial Policy of 2014 will also be reviewed to align

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it with the aspirations of both the National Vision 2036 as well as the

dictates of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Following the approval of the

Trade and Industrial Development Acts during the July sitting of

Parliament, the development of the Trade Regulations and Industrial

Development Regulations to facilitate implementation is ongoing and they

are expected to be completed by end of the financial year.

17. Government has also reviewed the land policy that will facilitate citizens

to use their land productively by enabling a mixed use of land approach.

This is meant to empower Batswana and the guidelines pertaining to this

policy have been distributed to members of the public approach.

ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION DRIVE (EDD)

18. Mister Speaker, The Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) Strategy is

currently under review through the Programme on Support to Economic

Diversification and Inclusive Growth (EDIG), with the collaboration of the

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The main aim of the

review is to assess the achievements of the intended objectives of the

EDD Strategy and to put in place interventions that will enhance its

implementation. Government will come up with legislation to ensure

compliance with the EDD provisions by all stakeholders.

Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA)

19. Mister Speaker, During the 2018/19 financial year, a total of Two

Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty Six (2 466) jobs were created in the

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manufacturing, property, services and agricultural sectors with a total

investment of Four Hundred and Sixty Six Million Pula (P466 million).

Project Facilitation Fund (PFF)

20. Mister Speaker, the Project Facilitation Fund which was launched in

May, 2019 was set up to assist business start-ups with funding for

Environmental Impact Assessment, soil tests and certification, as well as

promote survival of existing business enterprises. A total of five million

Pula (P5 million) has been set aside for the PFF which will be disbursed

as part grant and part loan.

The Gambling Industry

21. Mister Speaker, the Gambling Authority (GA) has embarked on a

licensing programme that will result in a National Lottery. The Lottery

will transform development and financing of charities, sports and

recreation which is expected to spur arts, culture and youth development.

The process to appoint a National Operator is ongoing and it is expected

to be concluded by the end of this financial year.

TRADE FACILITATION

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

22. Mister Speaker, In February 2019, Botswana signed the African

Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. The Agreement has

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so far been signed by fifty four (54) African States and it came into force

in May 2019, following ratification by the requisite twenty two African

States. It is anticipated that the Agreement will earnestly become

effective on 1st July 2020 following the finalisation of the tariff offers by

member states. It is then that Botswana would take advantage of the

One billion, Two hundred million (1.2 billion) people that is the estimated

market in the African continent.

The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA)

23. Mister Speaker, The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) comprises

twenty seven (27) countries from the three Regional Economic

Communities being the, Common Market for East and Southern Africa

(COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African

Development Community (SADC). Negotiations on the TFTA have since

been concluded as the member States have finalised tariff offers.

Botswana has ratified the TFTA and the process of depositing the

Instrument of Ratification will be concluded by the end of this month.

This will enable the private sector to access the TFTA market with a

combined population of nearly Six Hundred and Twenty Five million (625

million) people and a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of

approximately One trillion US Dollars (US$1.0 trillion).

24. So far, Government has held consultative engagements with the

Botswana Meat Commission, Botswana Ash, the Botswana Vaccine

Institute, and Flo-Tek on how to immediately access the East African

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Community market. This has also afforded Government an opportunity

to understand challenges encountered by exporting enterprises.

The African Opportunity Act (AGOA)

25. Mister Speaker, following the extension of the African Opportunity Act

(AGOA) to 2025, Botswana developed a National Response Strategy and

its implementation is ongoing. To date, work plans have been developed

and some progress has been realised under the arts and crafts and meat

and meat products sectors.

26. Under the Arts and Crafts sector, Botswana will collaborate with Eswatini

Fair Trade to leverage on best practices and assist in developing a

comprehensive strategy for the sector which will constitute external

market access and local capacity building targeted at crafters in rural

areas. Additionally, a storage facility, as a pilot project for Shakawe,

Gumare and Etsha areas, has been set up in Gumare to ensure that

various basketry weavers are accorded the opportunity to expand their

market base and exhibit their products to potential international tourists.

27. Government has also commenced the establishment of an e-commerce

platform or market place for purposes of availing and marketing arts and

crafts while the profiling and packaging of selected products for eventual

uploading on the marketplace is ongoing.

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INVESTMENT PROMOTION

28. Mister Speaker, The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre’s (BITC)

promotion drive created Three Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty One

(3 981) jobs during the 2018/2019 financial year. The Services,

Agriculture and Agro-processing sectors followed by the Manufacturing

Sector contributed more to realizing these jobs. The cumulative Foreign

Direct Investment (FDI) inflows amounting to Three Billion, Two Hundred

and Twenty million Pula (P3.220 billion) were realized, largely attributable

to the more than expected performance from the Financial Services

Sector. The realised cumulative Domestic Investment and Expansions for

the same period was Two billion, Six Hundred and Eight million Pula

(P2.608 billion).

29. The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre continues to carry out

several initiatives targeted towards expanding Botswana’s export base.

Exporting companies who benefited from the Botswana Export

Development Programme realised Three billion, Two Hundred and Ninety

Nine million Pula (P3.299 billion) of export earnings in the past year.

Special Economic Zones

30. Mister Speaker, you may recall that eight Special Economic Zone sites

have been mapped nationally at the following locations, The Sir Seretse

Khama International Airport (SSKIA), Fairgrounds, Lobatse,

Pandamatenga, Palapye, Selibe Phikwe, Tuli Block, and Francistown. So

far, progress is being made with regard to the development of the four

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priority zones being Sir Seretse Khama International Airport whose Master

plan has been approved and the process of developing detailed designs

has commenced. Furthermore, a site has been identified at

Pandamatenga to be used for processing and manufacturing purposes for

their agriculture products. Within the same zone, more land has been

identified to house twelve (12) silos each totalling Five Thousand (5000)

metric tonnes steel grain storage facility.

Cluster Development

31. Mister Speaker, In our quest to continuously grow and diversify the

economy as well as develop exports, my Government continues to

implement the Cluster Development programme aimed at improving

business productivity, value chains and competitiveness. The model

largely focusses on promoting private sector growth, by facilitating

linkages and interdependence among companies, hence improving their

performance in the production of goods and services and there-by

creating employment.

32. As I indicated in my inaugural address last year, the project started in

February 2018 with three prioritized sectors of Beef in Molopo to

Sandveld including Kweneng, south East and Kgatleng regions; Tourism

in Ngamiland region; and , Finance and Knowledge Intensive Business

Services in Gaborone. I am happy to indicate that export-led strategies

for the three clusters have been developed and are currently being

handed over to the implementing ministries. It is worth acknowledging

15

the key role played by the private sector as well as the academia in

developing these strategies and the role they continue to play in their

implementation. I wish to implore these parties to continue embracing

this initiative as this will expand the domestic economy and bring to

reality the shift to a private sector-led economy.

33. The Government will continue to develop more sectors, with Diamond

Beneficiation in Gaborone and Small Stock in Lobu area in the Kgalagadi

district coming before the end of this financial year.

34. In order to develop the indigenous expertise in Cluster-based

competitiveness in Botswana, a Training of Trainers Course is ongoing

at the Botswana Public Service College, in partnership with the European

Foundation for Cluster Excellence. After completing the course, the

Trainers will not only be qualified to train in Botswana but in the region

as well.

EDUCATION

Early Childhood Education (ECE)

35. Mister Speaker, Government continues to expand the provision of Early

Childhood Education (ECE) in public schools to improve learner readiness

for school and lifelong learning. The overall objective of this programme

is to ensure learner readiness at Standard One. The number of public

primary schools offering the year long reception class programme has

increased from One Hundred and Twenty Two (122) in 2014 when the

16

program started, to Five Hundred and Ninety (590) in April 2019 which

translates to 78.1 percent of Public Primary schools providing Early

Childhood Education.

36. The Five Hundred and Ninety (590) schools had an enrolment of Twenty

Three Thousand, Six Hundred and Thirty Seven (23 637) pupils as at April

2019. This has increased the net enrolment of children in the early

childhood education programme from 17 percent in 2014 to 39 percent

against a target of 80 percent in 2019. The aim is to have all the Seven

Hundred and Fifty Five (755) public primary schools in the country

offering the programme by 2022.

Introduction of Outcome Based Education System at Senior

Secondary School

37. Mister Speaker, As I indicated in my Inauguration speech on 1st

November, 2019, Government continues to implement some critical

reform programmes under the Education and Training Sector Strategic

Plan (ETSSP) aimed at enhancing access and quality education in line

with the local and global demands. Central to these reforms is the

introduction of multiple pathways at senior secondary school level where

students will pursue subjects of their interest and capability through the

Outcome Based Education (OBE) Programme. The implementation of this

programme is expected to commence in January 2021. Two schools have

been identified for the introduction of multiple pathways being Maun

Senior Secondary school for Tourism and Hospitality and a Moeng College

17

for Agriculture and Horticulture. Other schools are being considered for

the roll out of pathways.

38. To improve curriculum delivery, continuous in-service training is offered

to upgrade the competencies of teachers. Government, continues to

upgrade Primary School Teacher Certificate holders to diploma level. To

date 98 percent of primary school teachers hold a Diploma as a minimum

teaching qualification. Furthermore, teachers are capacitated to use

technology as a platform for learning.

Inclusive Education

39. Mister Speaker, Government continues to implement the Inclusive

Education Policy of 2011 to ensure access and equity in education

particularly for learners with special needs as supported by the

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This has resulted in an increase

in the enrolment of learners with special needs from Five Thousand,

Three Hundred and Forty Nine (5349) in 2017, to Five Thousand and Four

Hundred (5 400) in 2018. Moreover, Government has commenced the

process of developing a language policy in readiness for the introduction

of other languages in schools. The establishment of the Botswana

Teaching Council (BIL) which is aimed at professionalising teaching was

passed by the July 2019 Parliament Meeting and preparations for its

establishment are underway.

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Scaling up Access to Vocational Education and Training

40. Mister Speaker, to align the Vocational Education and Training

curriculum to modern technology and industry needs, Government has

started the review of three levels of curriculum according to the National

Credit Qualifications Framework (NCQF).

41. For the smooth transition and transfer of the examination function to the

Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) and in order for Government to

continue with the examination of artisans, the Madirelo Training and

Testing Centre (MTTC) is being accredited as an awarding body whilst

the Construction Industry Trust Fund (CITF) has been accredited as an

Education Training Provider (ETP) by the Botswana Qualifications

Authority (BQA).

42. Government has extended CITF services through the development of

rapid skills centres across the country. The rapid skills centres at Tsau,

Chadibe and Moreomaoto are operational, while the Thamaga centre has

been completed. Plans are underway for the establishment of six (6) more

rapid skills centres at Sojwe, Khakhea, Phitshane-Molopo, Bokspits,

Ncojane and Shakawe. Stakeholders who included tribal leaders, civic

leaders, and land board authorities have already been consulted on the

projects, and sites for these centres have been identified and duly

allocated.

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Botswana Examinations Council Transformation (BEC)

43. Mister Speaker, Government intends to expand the mandate of the

Botswana Examinations Council to include vocational education training

(VET) assessments and align it to the National Credit and Qualifications

Framework (NCQF). The objectives are to provide strong assessment

systems with data to facilitate teaching and learning, monitoring and

certification of learners in general education and Technical Vocational

Education and Training (TVET), the review of assessment programmes in

order to align them to the NCQF and the review and introduction of new

qualifications that meet the demands of the labour market. The

Botswana Examinations Council Amendment Bill has been approved by

Parliament.

HEALTH

44. Mister Speaker, the provision of quality health care remains one of my

Government’s top priorities. This is evidenced by our commitment to the

global call to Universal Health Coverage and health systems

strengthening, in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals,

specifically Target 3.8 which talks to “Achieving Universal Health

Coverage”.

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Maternal Health

45. Mister Speaker, in pursuit of the global maternal mortality ratio target

of less than 70 per 100 000 live births by 2030, Botswana experienced a

notable decrease from 156.6 per 100 000 live births in 2016 to 143.2 per

100 000 live births in 2017. Government intends to resuscitate intensive

maternal healthcare strategies, including the appointment of a National

Coordinator for Maternal Mortality reduction, and the engagement of

relevant stakeholders to come up with holistic solutions to address the

maternal mortality ratio in Botswana.

Child Health

46. Mister Speaker, according to the 2018 Botswana Demographic Survey,

there is a major setback in both Infant and under five mortality rates. The

Infant mortality rate increased from 17 per 1000 live births in the 2011

census compared to 38 per 1000 live births in 2018, while the under five

mortality rate increased from 28 per 1000 live births in the 2011 census

to 56 per 1000 live births in 2018. These figures are set against the

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets of 12 per 1000 live births

and 25 per 1000 live births for Infant and under five mortality rates,

respectively. The increase in the mortality rates is mainly attributed to

hygiene related issues particularly in rural areas where resources are

limited. To address these challenges, Government is continuously

implementing programmes that provide equitable and robust child

survival mechanisms to accelerate the uptake of High Impact

21

Interventions including Breast feeding, Immunizations, Zinc Sulphate,

Vitamin A supplementation and Oral Rehydration Salts.

Communicable and Non Communicable Diseases

47. Mister Speaker, Government continues to spend significant financial

resources as well as deployment of human and material resources

towards the fight against Communicable and Non-Communicable

Diseases (NCDs).

48. Having recognized the health and economic burdens of the escalating

rates of non- communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country, the

Botswana Multi Sectoral Strategy for the prevention and control of NonCommunicable Diseases for 2018-2023 was developed. The strategy

provides an opportunity for, among other things, a focus on the

Government’s ability to restore the quality of life for those affected;

defining prevention, primary care, holistic and multi-sectoral strategies

in the fight against NCDs; as well as outlining a roadmap of critical

activities that will be integrated by various stakeholders in addressing

NCDs and pursuing a good lifestyle.

49. With regards to communicable diseases, Botswana faces a big challenge

in that, an estimated six thousand, (6000) people per annum are affected

by Tuberculosis (TB). The emergence of Drug Resistant forms of the

disease threatens to hinder the gains made in combating the disease.

Since the establishment of Multi-Drug Resistant TB Clinical Centres in

22

2007, the country has registered One Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty

Eight (1238) cases with an average of One Hundred (100) cases being

registered every year.

National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA)

50. Mister Speaker, In 2018, Government expanded the mandate of the

National AIDS Coordinating Agency to encompass Non-Communicable

Diseases (NCDs). The National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency

(NAHPA) has therefore commenced implementing both the third National

Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS and the National NCDs Strategy,

jointly launched in June 2019.

51. The two strategies will serve as roadmaps for the country’s response to

these epidemics for the next five years. Furthermore, the strategies will

strengthen public awareness and community mobilization on the

prevention and control of NCDs and HIV to address risk factors.

52. Botswana is on track to achieving the United Nations 90-90-90 Fast-Track

targets. According to the current programme data, 86 per cent of people

living with HIV had tested and knew their status. Of those who knew their

status 83 per cent were on treatment and 96 per cent were virally

suppressed. Botswana is a high burden country with Three Hundred and

Seventy Thousand (370,000) people estimated to be living with HIV and

an adult prevalence rate of more than 20 percent. UNAIDS further

estimates that new HIV infections stood at Eight Thousand, Five Hundred

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(8,500) in 2018. A third of such new HIV infections occurred among

young people aged 15-24 years, of which 67 percent were young women

indicating an even higher risk of infections among Adolescent Girls and

Young Women.

53. My Government allocates resources annually through our national budget

and those mobilized from partners, to the HIV programme. Like any other

country that battles with issues of development, there are ineffective

social systems in some areas. We are nevertheless steadfast in ensuring

a legal and policy environment for all players to participate and play their

part. Recently we announced the provision of free antiretroviral treatment

to all, including non-citizens.

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

54. Mister Speaker, the number of people who require care as a result of

excessive consumption of alcohol and other substances (drugs) has

increased over the years and is a major source of concern to Government.

Government is rehabilitating people with alcohol and other Substance Use

Disorders (SUD) in collaboration with Non-Governmental Organizations

(NGOs). These clients are either referred to facilities run by NGOs or by

Government health facilities to deal with their different challenges.

55. Government has identified the Old Serowe Institute of Health Sciences

(IHS) as a facility that will serve as the first National Substance Use

Treatment Centre. Now that the designs for this Centre are complete, the

24

refurbishment will commence soon and it will be completed in twenty two

(22) months. Both in and outpatient services will be provided for in this

facility. The facility will also improve access to emergency and trauma

care services in order to reduce mortality and morbidity related to noncommunicable diseases.

Availability of Drugs

56. Mister Speaker, national drug availability has been a challenge in our

health system with worrying trends of sporadic and widespread

shortages across the country. As at the end of September 2019, there is

a notable improvement with availability averaging 80 percent at health

facilities across the country. This is due to local micro-procurement at

facilities while awaiting deliveries from the Central Medical Stores (CMS).

57. To further improve on drug supplies at CMS, Government is working on

implementing other strategic interventions such as purchasing medicines

through SADC Pooled Procurement Protocol which has been signed by

member states, and through international pooled procurement agencies

or key partners United Nations agencies such as the World Health

Organisation (WHO).

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Rehabilitation

58. Mister Speaker, in order to fully address rehabilitation needs of people

with complex neurological conditions and traumas arising from among

others road traffic accidents, injuries of one form or another; work is at

an advanced stage to develop the National Health Rehabilitation Policy

which will pave the way for the establishment of a specialised

rehabilitation centre. This centre will need specialized personnel and

equipment to produce the desired results.

Health Infrastructure

59. Mister Speaker, the construction of health facilities across the country

is ongoing and projects are at different levels of completion. The

upgrading of clinics is progressing satisfactorily at various villages, such

as Mochudi, Sepopa, Ngarange, Toteng, D’kar, Kauxwi, Borotsi and

Dibete. All these projects started in the last financial year. Staff housing

units are part of these projects and will upon completion, go a long way

in reducing shortage of accommodation for health workers. All these

projects are scheduled for completion this financial year.

60. Primary Hospitals, particularly at the level of seventy (70) beds capacity

are also under construction. These include Shakawe and Moshupa. The

upgrading of the Tutume and Gumare Primary Hospitals are at the design

stage levels. Other health infrastructure projects that were recently

completed and handed over to Government include the Kachikau Clinic,

26

Rakops Operating Theatre, Old Mahalapye Hospital as well as staff houses

in Mabutsane, Mathangwane and Maitengwe.

61. During this financial year, a total of Two Hundred and Sixty One Million

Pula (P261, 000, 000) was set aside for the maintenance of buildings and

replacement of key equipment and plants such as boilers, chillers,

generators, and laundry machines.

SOCIAL PROTECTION

Ipelegeng

62. Mister Speaker, The Ipelegeng Programme has contributed to

improved livelihoods through the provision of temporary relief to

vulnerable groups in rural and urban communities. The Programme has

also contributed to the development of communities through undertaking

of various construction and maintenance projects of essential public

facilities within the communities.

Drought Management Strategy

63. Mister Speaker, Government has taken a decision to develop a Drought

Management Strategy which would classify drought as a permanent

feature in our budget plans rather than an emergency. The strategy will

be completed before the end of this financial year. In view of the

prolonged dry spell period, Government has declared the 2018/19

27

financial year as a drought year with mitigation measures being a 35

percent subsidy on livestock feeds; emergency food baskets in the

Kgalagadi, Okavango and the North East Districts and continuation of

rations for children under the age of five and school feeding at primary

schools.

People with Disabilities

64. Mister Speaker, I am pleased to inform this august house that

significant progress has been made, which will pave the way for Botswana

to accede to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with

Disabilities by developing a Draft National Disability Framework.

65. Following wide public consultations, work on the Revision of the National

Disability Policy of 2019, the Strategy, Implementation Plan as well as the

development of a Bill relating to People with Disabilities, have been

completed. The Revised Policy and the Bill will be submitted to Parliament

for adoption.

Disaster Management

66. Mister Speaker, In order to enhance the management of disaster risk

in the country, a Multi-hazard Contingency Plan is being developed with

the financial support from the United Nations Development Programme

(UNDP), and it is expected to be finalised next year. This Plan shifts from

the single sectoral approach of managing disasters to a more systematic

and collaborative disaster planning system that will enhance response

28

time to all types of disasters, maximise loss of life, damage to property

as well as prioritise the needs of vulnerable groups in our society.

Poverty Eradication

67. Mister Speaker, Poverty, unemployment and inequality, , remain

challenges faced by the country and both the reason that the National

Vision 2036 and the National Development Plan 11 have prioritised these

challenges to ensure lasting solutions are pursued to reverse the trends.

68. Since the inception of the Poverty Eradication Programme in 2011, a total

of Thirty Eight Thousand, and Four Hundred and Eighteen (38,418)

beneficiaries have been funded, out of which Twenty-Nine Thousand,

Eight Hundred and Seventy Seven (29, 877) projects are operating. Five

Thousand Six Hundred and Nine (5, 609) projects are at different stages

of implementation across the country. The operating projects have

created Thirty Three Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighteen (33, 918)

jobs.

69. In addressing the delays in packaging and backlogs that resulted in

significant numbers waiting to be assisted, Government has so far cleared

the backlog in Kgatleng, Sowa, South East, North East, North West,

Boteti, Bobirwa, Lobatse and Francistown. Progress is being made to

clear Palapye, and Jwaneng soon, with the ultimate results being to

significantly reduce the backlog in all other districts.

29

70. Mister Speaker, the Exit strategy was developed and launched in

February this year. It clearly outlines interventions that facilitate

graduation of beneficiaries with excelling projects. To date Two Thousand

and Ninety Four (2, 094) excelling projects have graduated from the

programme. I awarded certificates of graduation to Thirty (30) of these

beneficiaries during the National Poverty Eradication Expo early this year.

Provision of Breakfast at Primary Schools

71. Mister Speaker, Government started providing breakfast meals at

Primary Schools in April 2019 with a view to promote optimal health,

growth and development, prevention of nutritional deficiencies as well

as align the primary school menu to that of secondary schools. The menu

for primary schools will support poverty eradication and home-grown

feeding initiatives to economically empower and capacitate Batswana and

promote micro and small-scale entrepreneurship.

GENDER ISSUES

72. Mister Speaker, It is important to highlight that Government recognises

gender equity as fundamental to sustainable development. To this end,

Government continues to support women in accessing markets through

Annual Business Expositions. In 2019, Government hosted the 20

th

National Women’s Exposition of which a total of One Hundred and Sixty

Nine (169) women entrepreneurs showcased their products including,

food processing and packaging, agricultural products, leather, clothing,

30

caskets, cosmetics and jewellery. The Women’s Economic Empowerment

Programme is being reviewed and the exercise will be finalised before the

end of this financial year.

73. Government has noted with concern that Gender Based Violence (GBV)

is one of the critical issues that impede women, girls and men from fully

enjoying their human rights and unleashing their potential. The National

Relationship Study of 2018 revealed that 37 percent of women and 21

percent of men have suffered some form of violence in their lifetime

which occurred within Intimate Partner Relationships. To address this

problem, Government will intensify the implementation of the National

Strategy Towards Ending Gender Based Violence. The Strategy focuses

on the comprehensive care and support of GBV survivors; the Prevention

of new GBV incidences; Strengthening national capacity to address GBV;

Improving efficiency and effectiveness of the coordination and

management of the national GBV response; and Strategic information and

knowledge management on GBV.

REVIEW OF THE MARRIAGE ACT OF 2001

74. The Marriage Act is currently under review to provide for amongst others,

the registration of religious and traditional marriages, monitoring and

regulation of appointed Marriage Officers, as well as to review the age of

consent for marriages.

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INTRODUCTION OF THE BOTSWANA BLUE CARD (BBC)

75. Mister Speaker, Government has introduced the Botswana Blue Card

(BBC) to allow persons who ceased to be citizens of Botswana, such as

those who have renounced Botswana citizenship, to retain the right to

unlimited stay in Botswana. The Botswana Blue Card holders will have

the right to visit, live and work in Botswana. However, they will not be

entitled to Omang and the Botswana Passport because they would have

ceased to be citizens of Botswana at the time they acquired the

citizenship of another country.

YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

76. Mister Speaker, Participation in the Youth Business Exposition grew

from Two Hundred and Twenty Four (224) in 2016/17 to Six hundred and

Two (602) in 2018/19. The winners are offered mentorship by

stakeholders and also benefit from training and mentorship. The Youth

exchange platform is also a form of youth empowerment which offers

young people an opportunity to benchmark best practices both locally

and internationally.

Youth in Agriculture

77. Mister Speaker, Government is currently marketing and positioning

agriculture as an attractive and financially rewarding career of choice to

young people. The campaign is expected to attract talented and

commercially minded young farmers into the agricultural industry.

32

Currently young people contribute 12 percent, 6.4 percent and 2.25

percent to rainfed arable production, beekeeping and horticulture

production, respectively. Youth participation in commercial livestock

production is currently at less than 4 percent.

Review of the Youth Development Fund and Botswana Youth Policy

78. The review the Youth Development Fund to identify gaps in its

implementation and provide a simple model on youth economic

empowerment is ongoing. The review of the Botswana National Youth

Policy with technical assistance from the United Nations Development

Programme (UNDP) will be completed by the end of this financial year.

The aim is to make the policy more relevant and youth-centric to better

serve their interests.

LOCAL GOVERNANCE

Development of Property Valuation and Rating Regulations

79. Mister Speaker, In implementing the Local Government Act of 2012,

Government initiated the development of Property Valuation and Rating

Regulations to ensure the application of property valuation and rates in

the rural areas and this maximise local levels economic growth. The

regulations have been gazetted and are ready for dissemination to

stakeholders before the end of the financial year.

33

Formulation of the National Decentralisation Policy

80. Mister Speaker, The formulation of the National Decentralisation Policy

is at an advanced stage. It is expected to be completed during this

financial year. Upon its completion and approval, this policy will work as

a tool to guide the overall service delivery, coordinate and align decision

making to enhance democracy at the national and local levels and

promote popular participation for sustainable national development.

Village Infrastructure

81. Mister Speaker, the construction work for village infrastructure projects

in Gabane, Tutume and Kang commenced in 2017/2018 and will be

completed by the end of the financial year. As at June 2019, progress

stood at 72 percent for both the Gabane and Tutume projects and 78

percent at Kang, while Six Hundred and Eighty Seven (687) people have

been employed. The completion of these infrastructure projects will not

only make these villages alternative investment locations and grow local

economies but will also create employment opportunities and improve

user safety and reduce damage to property due to uncontrolled storm

water.

AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT AND FOOD SECURITY

82. Mister Speaker, The food import bill in 2018 was estimated at Seven

Billion, Seven Hundred and Forty Five Million Pula (P7.745 billion)

compared to Six Billion, Eight Hundred and Sixty Three million Pula

34

(P6.863 billion) in 2017. The bulk of food items imported are dairy and

dairy products followed by fruits and vegetables.

Dairy Sector

83. The dairy sector has a well-organized value chain compared to other

agricultural commodities and has clear linkages regarding production,

processing, distribution and marketing. Since milk processing plants such

as Clover Botswana and Parmalat are already established, Government is

leveraging on these to promote the establishment of commercial dairy

farms, to produce adequate raw milk and feed the value chain. The

annual national demand for milk was Sixty Five Million (65 million) litres

during the 2018/19 financial year. However, Nine million, Five Hundred

and Eighty Two Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty Five and a Half (9

582 985.5) litres of milk was produced locally, compared to Eight million,

Six Hundred and Fifty Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Eighty One

and a half (8 657 781. 5) litres produced in 2017/18. This increase in

liquid milk is attributable to the implementation of the dairy strategy.

84. The upcoming Milk Afric Dairy farm in Lobatse is expected to milk five

hundred (500) cows which will significantly increase milk production in

the next financial year. This farm is expected to gradually grow the

number of milking cows to Two thousand (2,000) by adding five hundred

(500) cows every year. Sunnyside Dairy Farm which is the major supplier

of liquid milk is continuing to expand and to date it produces Five Hundred

Thousand (500 000) litres of milk per month.

35

85. Government is also establishing marketing infrastructure to facilitate

market access. The Pitsane Milk Collection Plant has been renovated.

Efforts are also ongoing to assist farmers to manage the Serowe Milk

Pasteurizing Plant which is not operating at full capacity, producing only

Eight Thousand (8 000) litres of milk per day. There are other smaller

milk collection plants in Maun, Selebi Phikwe, Ghanzi and Molepolole that

have been assisted to supply milk to Government institutions in their

respective districts.

Beef Production

86. Mister Speaker, During the 2018/19 financial year, a total of Two

Hundred and Seventy One Thousand, Two Hundred and Ten (271 210)

cattle were slaughtered both at the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC)

and private slaughter facilities, against the annual target of Three

Hundred and Ten Thousand and Nine hundred (310 900) animals.

87. There has been a recorded decline of the national cattle population from

three million, one hundred thousand (3.1 million) in the last seven (7)

years to an estimated two (2) million in 2018. This is a worrisome trend

which Government is responding to in a number of ways to increase the

national herd. As a way of responding to this situation, Government has

adopted a Beef Cluster Strategy which has identified areas of

improvement which include; ways of upgrading production, research and

technology transfer and promotion and marketing of beef.

36

88. This is done in partnership with the Government of New Zealand through

the Beef Productivity Training Programme at Ramatlabama Ranches. The

programme offers training to farmers and herdsman on best farm

practices and animal production initiatives and is meant to equip farmers

with industry led, livestock management and increase on calving rate on

an annual basis.

89. Furthermore, the strategy to liberalise the Botswana Beef Export market

has been completed and will guide the future of the beef industry in

Botswana. The implementation of the strategy will include amongst other

things the establishment of a Meat Regulator, a liberalized, competitive

and open market for beef products and live cattle, harmonized legislation

and regulations across the beef sub sector in compliance with health and

sanitation standards.

90. Moreover the implementation of the strategy calls for the restructuring of

the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), separation of the linked abattoirs

of Lobatse, Maun and Francistown, and the privatization of the

organisation. It has been necessary to review the sales and marketing of

the BMC Beef and removal of its export monopoly as well as its

distribution to various regional and international markets to ensure value

for money and the sustainability of the company. This will yield a

competitive price structure and an improved turnaround time for payment

of farmers. The Botswana Meat Commission Transition Bill has been

37

passed in Parliament as part of the initiatives to effect some of these

changes.

Small Stock Development

91. Mister Speaker, In 2018/2019, Over Six Hundred and Twenty One

(621) and about Three Hundred and Nineteen (319) tonnes of goat meat

and mutton were produced in the country respectively, while the

demand for the goat meat and mutton stands at, One thousand, Seven

Hundred (1700) and Five Hundred and Fifty (550) tonnes. Therefore

there is a need to develop the commodity value chains to increase

production.

92. To transform the smallstock sub-sector, Government developed a

smallstock farm at Lobu, which will later be replicated in other areas. A

total of Five Hundred and Fifty Six (556) stud animals, Dorper sheep and

Boer goat have been acquired to improve the quality of the national

stock. The long-term objectives are to improve productivity and

commercialize operations, strengthen centres of excellence at strategic

areas for farmers to benchmark and support upstream infrastructure

development while securing markets locally and internationally through

available trade agreements.

Aquaculture

93. Mister Speaker, Government is in the process of developing an

Aquaculture Development Policy and Strategy for Botswana which will

38

guide the country on how to grow this sub sector. Currently,

Government is operating a Fish Hatchery Rehabilitation in Mmadinare

which produces fingerlings. To further promote fish utilization by

communities, five (5) community projects are at different stages of

development. These are the, Thito Village Development Committee

(VDC) Integrated Fish farming Project, Toteng Fish Farming Project,

Kareng Project and the Shakawe Region Development Support Society

(SRDSS).

Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development

Programme (LIMID)

94. Mister Speaker, The LIMID programme is progressing well and in the

2018/19 financial year, Six Thousand, Nine Hundred and Nine (6 909)

applicants benefited from the programme, of which Three Thousand

Seven Hundred and Eighteen (3 718) were youth.

The Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme

95. Mister Speaker, In an effort to promote agriculture, food production

and security in Botswana, Government continues to implement the

Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme. The main objective of the

Scheme is to assist farmers to repay part of their loans in cases of crop

failure due to drought, floods, frost and hailstorm.

96. Following the declaration of 2018/2019 as a drought year, Government

has paid One Hundred and Thirty Four Million, Three Hundred and

39

Sixteen Thousand , Five Hundred and Seventy Six Pula, (P134 316 576)

to assist farmers who received arable loans from CEDA and the NDB.

This amount is equivalent to 85 percent of the farmer’s instalments in

2018/2019. The Scheme is in the process of being reviewed to align it

with developments in the agricultural sub-sector and to establish the

feasibility and sustainability of extending it to cover additional

agricultural subsectors and other causes of loss other than drought,

floods, frost and hailstorm, as well as to include other financing

institutions.

Horticulture

97. Mister Speaker, in horticulture, domestic production has registered

consistent growth in the past years due to increased production of

potatoes and tomatoes. Current production stands at Sixty Three

Thousand, Four Hundred and Eighty Seven (63 487) tonnes, accounting

for 42.4 percent of the national demand of One Hundred and Twelve

Thousand (112 000) tonnes. The restriction on the importation of

horticulture products such as border closures has helped in developing

the local horticulture sector, particularly the fresh vegetables production.

98. As a result, local production of fresh vegetables has shown steady

growth over the last ten (10) years in terms of production and the

number of farmers taking part in this sector. The total number of

horticulture farmers increased by 61 percent from Four Hundred (400)

in 2008 to One Thousand and Eighteen (1018) in 2018. Output of the

40

sector also registered impressive growth over the same period,

increasing from Thirty Seven Thousand, Eight Hundred and Ninety (37

890) tonnes to Sixty Five Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety Eight (65

698) tonnes in the same period.

99. A notable development in this sector has been the significant increase

in the domestic production of non-traditional products such as potatoes.

Potato production increased from Two Thousand, Five Hundred (2 500)

tonnes in 2010 to Eighteen Thousand, and Fifty Nine (18 059) tonnes in

2018.

Foot and Mouth Disease

100. Mister Speaker, Disease pressure on cattle is high particularly Foot

and Mouth Disease (FMD). FMD outbreaks limit the movement of cattle

resulting in temporary closure of export markets in the affected areas.

The high occurrence of measles also has had adverse effects on the beef

exports. However, the Measles Control Strategy is beginning to bear fruit

as the prevalence of this disease has dropped to 6.5 percent from 8

percent reported during the launch of the strategy in August 2018.

101. Government has made improvements in the control of FMD due to the

successful implementation of the vaccination strategy. As a result, The

World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has approved Botswana’s

application for the reinstatement of the FMD free status for Zone 7,

which was lost on account of the outbreak of FMD in May 2011. This

41

listing is expected to expand the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) green

zone thus increasing the number of cattle illegible for lucrative markets.

102. Government continues to rehabilitate cordon fences with priority given

to frontier fences bordering FMD affected zones. These fences are

barriers for FMD control. However, constant damage of cordon fences

by elephants especially in the North West and Central Districts puts

severe strain on resources and it is unsustainable in the long term.

Drought Mitigations in Agriculture

103. Following the declaration of 2018/19 as a drought year, Government

introduced drought subsidies on livestock feeds, vaccines and

deworming drugs. The initial 25 percent drought subsidy elapsed in June

2019 and was preceded by a further 35 percent up to June 2020. The

subsidy is expected to act as a relief measure for livestock farmers. Since

its inception a total of Fourteen Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety Nine

(14 599) livestock farmers participated in the drought subsidy, of which

Thirteen Thousand, Two Hundred and Twenty (13 220) were males and

One Thousand, Three Hundred and Seventy Nine (1 379) females while

youth beneficiaries were One Thousand, Three Hundred and Seventy

Eight (1 378).

104. Moreover, a slaughter price incentive of three Pula per kilogram (P3/kg)

on direct slaughter across all meat grades at the Botswana Meat

Commission (BMC) was also introduced from June to September 2019

to help mitigate direct drought impact to farmers. A total of thirty nine

42

thousand, seven hundred and forty eight (39 748) cattle received the

price incentive amounting to Twenty Nine Million, Nine Hundred and

Eighty Three Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty Three Pula (P29 983

553) which directly benefited one thousand, one hundred and forty

people (1140) who supplied the BMC over that period.

105. Government further granted a temporary window for export of live cattle

for immediate slaughter from June 2019 to March 2020 as a drought

intervention measure. A total of One Thousand Six Hundred and Sixty

Two (1662) cattle have so far been exported. These combined drought

interventions have had a positive effect on farmers and private sector

stakeholders’ incomes, increased off-take and prevention of losses of

animals that could have perished in the deteriorated pastures due to

drought.

106. As a long term intervention, Government intends to establish fodder

banks and fodder reserves in a way such that there will be adequate

livestock feeds during the dry periods including the production of Napier

grass.

Botswana Animal Information and Traceability System (BAITS)

107. Mister Speaker, the Botswana Animal Information and Traceability

System (BAITS) is undergoing upgrade to enhance its functionality and

facilitate offline access by farmers and extension officers. This is

expected to enable registration of communal holdings and geo-

43

referencing thus giving communal farmers’ direct access to the

European Union (EU) market. At least sixty (60) BAITS cafes have been

established around the country to improve animal information capturing

and permit issuance especially in rural areas.

108. Government has successfully controlled the outbreak of Bont tick in the

Tubu and Gumare area. The tick transmits several diseases including

dermatophylosis, locally known as Senkobo, a very debilitating condition

in livestock. About twenty four thousand (24 000) cattle, three thousand

nine hundred (3 900) small stock and three hundred and eight five (385)

donkeys and horses were dipped and treated. This intervention has

significantly reduced mortality and infestation levels.

TOURISM

Tourism Development

109. Mister Speaker, In an effort to empower citizens, Government has

made strides in the privatisation and management of campsites by

citizens in protected areas especially National Parks to generate income

and create employment. To date out of a total of Two Thousand, One

Hundred and Seven (2 107) licensed tourism enterprises, One

Thousand, Five Hundred Seventy Seven (1 577) are wholly citizen

owned, Two Hundred and Sixty Nine (269) are joint ventures while Two

Hundred and Sixty One (261) are non–citizen owned.

44

110. The development of the tourism cluster has started with Ngamiland

Tourism Cluster as a pilot project. The implementation of this cluster is

critical to provide learnings for rolling out clusters in other parts of the

country.

111. In September 2019, Government reviewed Tourism Policy. The Policy

highlights several critical success factors necessary to support its vision

which include efficient management of National Parks, Forests and

Game Reserves and other Wildlife Management Areas; Mainstreaming

of tourism in Government planning process; Improvement of access and

infrastructure; Meaningful citizen and community participation in the

industry; Enhanced Public/Private Sector Partnerships and Product

Diversification.

112. The tourism sector is narrowly focused on wildlife and wilderness

tourism. The development, diversification and expansion of tourism

attractions and experiences are pre-requisites for Botswana to expand

its market reach and share. To achieve this, the policy intervention for

Product Development and Diversification will cover various strategies

including:

i. Broadening the tourism base by adding new product

ii. Pursuing tourism linkages such as mining, diamond tours,

diamond shopping, game ranching and farming and arts and

crafts.

45

iii. Identifying underdeveloped cultural/natural attractions and

sites with tourism potential and initiate a programme for

upgrading and improving visitor access, interpretation and

amenities at such locations;

113. Government has made significant efforts in empowering of citizens

through privatization and management of campsites in protected areas

especially the National Parks. In order to increase access and benefits

to communities for sustainable livelihood improvement, Government will

engage various strategies including;

i. Increasing the level of community and citizen participation,

partnerships and involvement in the tourism sector by solely

reserving the existing vacant concessions for allocation to citizen

companies or consortia or joint ventures or community trusts;

ii. Agreeing on clear and transparent criteria for foreign

concessionaires and local business owners pertaining to local

community participation and benefits including persuading existing

concession operators to issue part of shareholding to citizens;

iii. Subdividing existing larger concessions with a view to establishing

new ones for the allocation of citizens;

iv. Allowing that land allocated to citizens through tourism citizen

economic empowerment model be used as collateral by allottees to

secure shareholding and or partnership;

46

114. Government has embarked on the development of site museums,

interpretation centres and heritage sites. Heritage is being used to grow

our tourism as the modern tourist is interested in the history and

people’s culture. A Master Plan for the development of heritage tourism

in the south of Botswana is underway. Botswana, Namibia and Angola

are engaged in a trans-boundary project to list Okavango as a World

Heritage site in the riparian states.

115. These undertakings will ensure that the country’s Cultural Property is

protected and avails the opportunity to recover items that may or might

have found themselves illegally on foreign countries.

 

Wildlife Management

116. Human-wildlife conflict has escalated due to the current drought

conditions. Additional funds have been approved for the Ministry of

Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism to provide

water for wildlife to alleviate the impact of water shortages and augment

water points in game reserves and wildlife management areas. To date,

eighteen (18) additional boreholes have been drilled in Chobe National

Park, Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

In addition, two (2) boreholes have been equipped and ten (10) wells

drilled in Okavango (Nxaraga/Qubu) for watering wildlife. Government

will also review the alignment of the Makgadikgadi Fence to ensure its

effectiveness in reducing human-wildlife conflict around Boteti area.

47

117. The Government continues to build capacity to counter the growing

threat of wildlife poaching and trafficking. The construction of the Kang

anti-poaching and training facility is at 95 percent and will be complete

before the end of 2019-20 financial year. Sniffer dogs to detect wildlife

contraband at ports of entry and exit and along identified smuggling

routes have become a key component of the arsenal to combat wildlife

crime. Efforts are being stepped up to improve stakeholder participation

in combating wildlife crime. To this end a public awareness strategy has

been developed and approved under the Government and GEF jointly

funded Kgalagadi and Ghanzi Dryland Ecosystem Project. It is

anticipated that the strategy will improve understanding of stakeholders’

roles in reducing human-wildlife conflict and combating wildlife crime in

the project area.

118. Following the decision to re-instate hunting in April 2019, Government

is currently working on developing Hunting Guidelines to provide

direction on hunting. Citizen hunting resumed in 2019 and it is

anticipated that the same will be extended to community trust areas and

concessions in April 2020. In preparation for community hunting, quotas

will be issued by December 2019 to allow for marketing ahead of the

2020 hunting season.

119. A major lesson learnt from the 2014 hunting moratorium is the

unintended alienation of communities who felt that they were not

benefitting from the natural resources around them. The lifting of the

moratorium will mitigate the negative impacts of the moratorium in

48

communities which include perceived alteration of communities from

deriving benefits from natural resources around them, collapse of civil

society organisations due to reduced incomes and reduced employment

opportunities and income-generation activities. It is expected that

hunting will contribute significantly to reducing the human/wildlife

conflict by creating viable and balanced populations.

120. Botswana participated in the Convention on International Trade in

Endangered Species (CITES) in wild fauna and flora 18th Conference of

Parties (CoP) held in Geneva, Switzerland. A proposal to trade in ivory

jointly submitted by Botswana and other elephant range states whose

populations are on CITES Appendix II was rejected by the Conference

of Parties. The failure by the international community to recognise that

elephant conservation and management comes at great cost in terms of

impacts on community livelihoods and protection of elephants from

poaching has the potential to undermine the sterling conservation efforts

by the southern African region. Botswana hosted the Kasane Elephant

Summit and committed to working with Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier

Conservation Area partner countries to identify sustainable solution to

the challenges present by our elephant population.

Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM)

121. Government acknowledges the importance of natural resources such as

wildlife to the wellbeing and livelihoods of communities living in rural

areas. This is the reason why the CBNRM program has been revitalized

49

for communities to improve their livelihoods, create job opportunities

and diversify local economies, while sustainably managing natural

resources. To this end, legislation is being drafted to provide a

framework within which Community Trusts operate, while keeping

regulatory requirements in check and also providing clarity on standards

and accountability.

122. Some of the bottlenecks that had been impeding the growth of the then

CBNRM programme, including moratoriums on export of dried fish and

the moratorium on tourism licenses in NG 41 & NG 19 have been lifted

in order to provide an opportunity for communities to invest in tourism

enterprises which will lead to employment creation, increased income

and investment in social projects within those communities.

Environmental Protection

123. Government continues to ensure that all stakeholders, especially NonGovernmental Organizations, are involved in environmental protection.

Government continues to use the National Environmental Fund (NEF) as

a grant to ensure sustainable stakeholder participation. Since its

establishment in 2010, the NEF has provided financial support to a total

of forty two (42) projects with a total of Thirty Four million, Five Hundred

and Eighty Two Thousand, One Hundred and Ninety One Pula (P34,

582,191). The NEF will continue to contribute positively to Government

efforts towards sustainable community livelihoods and conservation.

50

124. The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has since establishment

financed 23 National projects at a cost of Thirty Four Million, Eight

Hundred and Thirty Seven, One Hundred and Seventy US Dollars

(USD34, 837, 170) and One Hundred and Eighty Eight (188) community

projects through the Small Grant Program amounting to Five Million,

Three Hundred and Thirty Eight Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighteen

US Dollars (USD5, 338, 618). These funds were mainly used to pilot

environmental management best practices and community based

approaches to environmental governance in different thematic areas

such as Land Management, Climate Change and Bio-Diversity. Our

major successes have been on implementation of sustainable land

management, restoration of degraded land, climate smart agriculture

and livelihoods improvements in the Central, Chobe and Ngamiland

Districts.

125. Botswana intends to replicate these successes across the country whilst

strategically utilising GEF resources to enhance CBNRM through a

capacity building programme for our communities to explore biodiversity economy to create employment. This will mainly be financed

from Seven Million, Three Hundred and Ten Thousand US Dollars (USD

7,310,000) already allocated to Botswana and Twenty Million, Eight

Hundred and Sixteen Thousand, Six Hundred and Forty Two US Dollars

(USD20, 816,642) for regional projects.

51

Clean and Safe Environment

126. Treated effluent discharged from our waste treatment facilities into the

receiving environment remains a challenge as most of the wastewater

treatment plants generate effluent of poor quality that does not meet

acceptable discharge standards. Data generated from air pollution

monitoring stations on the other hand is generally of acceptable

standards.

127. As a way of ensuring environmental performance compliance, the

Government continues to conduct audits and inspections of pollution

generating entities, and indications from these monitoring activities

suggest that most of these activities are non-compliant to environmental

statutes and we are doing all we can to correct the situation.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Conservation

128. The pressure of demand for natural resources as inputs for

developmental initiatives is stretching ecosystems beyond their

regenerative abilities. Therefore, these resources require appropriate

management measures be implemented.

129. Government, in its

Banners
effort to sustainably manage forest resources for

socio-economic and environmental benefits, has undertaken various

conservation initiatives. These include protection, restoration,

rehabilitation, maintenance, sustainable utilisation and enhancement of

the natural state.

52

130. Forest and range resources continue to play a significant role in rural

livelihoods and poverty reduction. During the current financial year the

sector has created Nine Thousand, Five Hundred and Twelve (9 512)

jobs and accrued revenue amounting to Two Million, Eight Thousand,

One Hundred and Ninety One Pula (P2, 008, 191.00)

131. Government continues to drive alternative poverty eradication packages

namely, backyard tree nurseries, landscaping, phane harvesting, grass

harvesting and manufacturing of fire beaters, all of which are

implemented by communities in the rural areas.

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

132. The Climate Change Policy has been developed by Government and will

be tabled in the next Parliament for debate. Other policy instruments

and strategies intended to support the implementation of this policy are

currently undergoing development or review. These include the National

Energy Policy; the National Agricultural Development Policy; the Climate

Change Strategy and Action Plan and the National Transport Policy.

Additionally, a National Designated Authority and Energy Regulatory

Authority have been established, while a National Adaptation Framework

is being developed to guide the country in coordinating and

implementing approaches for adaptation planning, the Climate Smart

Agriculture (CSA) programme is being implemented with a specific focus

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to increase resilient production systems and improve livelihoods amidst

climate changes.

133. Considering the global success of the Montreal Protocol on substances

that deplete the Ozone Layer, there is an agreement by countries to

reduce Hydroflorocarbons (HFCs) which are friendly to the Ozone layer

but still have a global warming potential as agreed under the Kigali

Agreement. Botswana will be ratifying the Amendment to ensure that

the country benefits from available support mechanisms.

Safe and Secure Use of Nuclear Technology

134. Mister Speaker, with regard to strengthening of public safety and

security in the country, Botswana has developed an Integrated Nuclear

Security Support Plan (INSSP) to ensure security of radioactive sources.

The plan was reviewed in March 2019, with the facilitation by the

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Furthermore, the

amendment of the current law to incorporate issues of nuclear security

is in progress. Other activities such as authorisations, inspections and

enforcements are undertaken to ensure compliance with regulatory

requirements and to provide assurance to the general public that safety

and security of sources is maintained.

135. Government continues to sustain the implementation of environmental

monitoring strategies aimed at managing public exposure to radiation

material. To ensure that the public, radiation workers and the

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environment are protected from adverse effects of radiation exposure,

Government established a fully functional dosimetry and environmental

laboratories. Several environmental monitoring sites have also been

established countrywide and are indicating normal exposure levels.

Furthermore, collection and analysis of environmental samples and

foodstuffs in Serule and Gojwane areas, are ongoing in preparation for

the envisioned uranium mining and milling in the area.

PUBLIC BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE

Regulation of the Construction Industry

136. Mister Speaker, The transformation of the local construction industry

remains a priority to Government as it will not only improve performance

of the sector but will also encourage competitiveness in the industry.

The introduction of three regulatory bodies that cover the professions of

Engineering, Quantity Surveying and Architects is expected to bring

about professionalism and therefore improve service delivery in the

sector. To this end, registration of professionals is progressing well

under the three regulatory bodies.

137. Besides the registration of professionals in the construction industry,

Government continues to work on the legislation in an attempt to close

the gaps which may hinder the intended reform of the construction

sector. To this end, Government will review the Engineers Registration

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Act and the Architects Registration Act in order to close the gaps which

have been identified so far during their implementation.

Housing Delivery

138. Mister Speaker, Government recognises access to housing as a basic

human need and essential to quality of life. In line with the objectives

of the National Policy on Housing of 2000, Government gives priority to

low income housing programme such as the Self Help Housing Agency,

commonly known as SHHA. This programme has played a very

important role in ensuring home ownership through what is now called

SHHA Turnkey and Home Improvement programme.

139. Decent housing leads to social upliftment and promotes good

livelihoods. Furthermore, Government continues to explore the use of

environmentally sustainable alternative building technologies and

promote partnerships for exchange of ideas on international and

national fronts such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the New

Urban Agenda.

140. The Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation

(BITRI), through Nano fibre technology, has produced prototypes of

industrial surgical masks. These masks can be used in mines to prevent

inhalation of dust particles as well as in the health industry for protection

from viruses. The masks have passed the universal certification tests.

Pilot deployment has commenced and will be done at four (4) mines in

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Botswana during this financial year. The organization has also developed

and completed a foot and mouth disease test kit and the kits are

currently being processed for commercialization.

141. The Botswana Innovation Hub has successfully completed two projects.

The first one is a solar-powered water purification plant installed in

Sojwe in the Kweneng District. The result of this intervention is that the

community now has access to potable water. The second is a carrierneutral data centre that creates data hosting and storage facilities by

the Botswana Innovation Hub. This has enhanced hosting capabilities

for BIH, innovators and other stakeholders. All the projects have been

executed in collaboration with the private sector and Government will,

through its institutions, continue to promote the growth of the national

innovation ecosystem in partnership with the private sector.

142. In response to the dictates of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the

desire to ensure that Batswana acquire skills that would enable them to

be active and productive participants in the digitised world, the

Botswana Open University (BOU) has established an academy in

partnership with Huawei Technologies Botswana. The academy is aimed

at delivering industry standard training leading to professional

certification for different Information Technology (IT) levels and

specialisations.

143. In order to give impetus to nurturing a culture of research and

innovation in Botswana, Government introduced the Botswana

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Innovation Fund in 2017. The Fund avails grants to assist start-ups to

close innovation gaps in the development cycle. To date, twelve

companies owned by young Batswana innovators have been funded to

the tune of Thirteen Million Pula. This is a modest start as we need to

have more investment, especially from the private sector. We need to

have our own Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors who will

complement Government’s efforts in growing our research and

innovation capabilities.

144. I am happy to say that some investors have already come on board to

support our research and innovation agenda. As indicated in my

Inauguration Speech, Liquid Telecom has partnered with the Botswana

Innovation Hub to train one thousand five hundred (1 500) youth in

coding or software development. I also indicated, that a country wide

internet access programme for students will see the development of

Edu-zones providing a dedicated platform that will drive research,

innovation and digital learning around the country. These initiatives

provide a strong foundation which we can build upon.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY

The Use of ICT as a Platform for Learning

145. Mister Speaker, Government is in partnership with numerous

organisations to support school connections and installation of

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) gadgets in schools.

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This includes the provision of Wi-Fi and upgrading of band-width to a

minimum of two megabytes per second (2Mbps) in schools as well as

teacher capacitation. Video streaming of lessons have been introduced

in three (3) secondary schools. The plan is to add another five (5)

schools in 2020 and an additional two (2) in 2021.

146. ICT Infrastructure Development which includes integrating ICT in

teaching and learning has been availed to all secondary schools; even

though it requires upgrading. About 41 percent of primary schools have

ICT infrastructure. In Ghanzi, Kgalagadi and Mabutsane, all primary

schools have been provided with internet, Local Area Network and ICT

officers. Plans are afoot to cover the whole of the Kweneng District in

the next financial year. However, there are bandwidth limitations across

all schools, hence the need to upgrade bandwidth to high speed internet.

Government is collaborating with the Botswana Communications

Regulatory Authority (BOCRA), the Botswana Fibre networks (BOFINET)

and other telecommunication service providers that assist schools in the

enhancement of ICT infrastructure and the provision of high speed

internet as well as ICT gadgets to promote the integration of ICT in

teaching and learning.

147. Twenty thousand (20 000) tablets and computers have been supplied to

four hundred and sixteen (416) Primary and Secondary Schools through

the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) and assistance from other

stakeholders such as Botswana Communication regulatory Authority and

the Universal Access and Service Fund (BOCRA-UASF), Orange

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Botswana, Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), the Embassy

of Japan and the Embassy of the Republic of South Korea.

148. Mister Speaker, Digitization is an important mechanism to support

sustainability. In an effort to make learning flexible, convenient and

lifelong, the Botswana Accountancy College has introduced an online

learning platform to widen access to education by students in the field

of professional accountancy and in business management. Across the

country and the region, it is now possible for prospective students to

study professional accounting qualifications online.

149. In pursuit of promoting access to information, libraries have become

community resource centres for fostering lifelong-learning and

knowledge enhancement. In general the number of people who visit

libraries is about Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand (850, 000) annually.

A total of (Seventy Four) 74 out of One Hundred and Five (105) public

libraries offer public access to computers and internet services and over

Seventy Four Thousand (74,000) people have been trained on basic ICT

skills since the inception of the programme in 2009. All these positive

results demonstrate the potential that libraries have to champion efforts

towards driving the economy from a resource based to information and

knowledge based economy.

150. To date, sixteen (16) technology libraries have been constructed and

are fully operational under Government’s partnership with the Robert

and Sara Rothschild Family Foundation. The seventeenth library is under

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construction at Masunga and it is scheduled to start operation by March

2020.

151. Mister Speaker, Botswana Post continues to play a vital role in the

delivery of ICT services through its increased service bouquet and

delivery channels. The recent development resulted in the introduction

of PosoMoney; an easy accessible, interoperable mobile money solution

that allows customers to conveniently access a wide range of financial

products and services. This service leverages on technology to address

the challenges faced by the unbanked and the under banked. It works

on any phone and any network.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Sector

152. Mister Speaker, there is no doubt, that the Government continues to

undertake various initiatives geared towards the promotion, uptake and

usage of reliable and affordable communication services across various

segments of the population. These initiatives are implemented through

both government funding and in collaboration with our partners in the

private sector, leveraging on the existing mechanisms such as the

Universal Access and Service Fund (UASF). The USAF has facilitated the

provision of services to areas that would otherwise be considered not

commercially viable by the network operators and service providers.

153. Mister Speaker, I am particularly delighted to inform you that these

initiatives have started to bear fruit. As at March 2019, the mobile

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money subscription was standing at One Million, One Hundred and Forty

Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Seventy Three (1,149,673). This has

enabled people who would otherwise not have banking accounts, such

as domestic workers, the elderly and school going children, to have

access to banking services.

154. The upgrading of the telecommunication coverage in Mabutsane sub

district, Kgalagadi and Ghanzi District covering sixty eight (68) villages,

has enabled an estimated Seventy Thousand (70 000) citizens living in

these villages to have access to broadband services.

155. As result of the continued investment in rolling out broadcasting

infrastructure by Government and the installation of an integrated FM

transmitter system for use by commercial radio broadcasters covering

the areas of Hukuntsi, Tshane, Lokgwabe and Lehututu villages, more

than 70 percent of the population has access to commercial radio

stations. The continued call for the reduction in mobile broadband prices

has borne fruit as now all the mobile operators have equated their OffNet and On Net call charges thus reducing the cost on citizens.

156. Our continued efforts to reduce transit call costs by co-construction of

backhaul links projects with our neighbouring countries being Namibia

and South Africa, has led to an average reduction of 53 percent on the

wholesale of internet price in the last twelve months. Whilst this

reduction may have not yet trickled down to the consumers,

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Government is working with concerned stakeholders to ensure that the

same benefit is transferred to customers.

The National Backbone Network

157. Mister Speaker, as I have already highlighted, Two Hundred and

Eleven (211) out of the four hundred (400) targeted localities are

connected to the national backbone broadband infrastructure. In

2020/2021, Zhutshwa, Maake, Monong, Ngwatle, Ncaang, Ukhwi, Kole,

Ncojane and Makunda will be connected through the microwave

backhaul radio technologies to bring the number to Two Hundred and

Twenty (220). The remaining villages will be connected by 2023.

158. My Government has made significant ICT investments through the

Botswana Fibre Networks (BOFINET). Today Botswana has in excess of

Ten Thousand (10 000km) Kilometres of optical fibre across the length

and breadth of our country.

159. BOFINET also offers video-on-demand on the Internet through optical

fibre. More is being done to increase fibre connectivity to our homes and

develop Data Centres that will host our data in-country. BOFINET

recently launched an optical fibre connectivity programme to our homes

initially targeting sixteen thousand (16,000) homes in Gaborone and it

is expected to be completed in 2020.

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160. More than five thousand (5,000) businesses are already connected

through the optical fibre network. It is only through the optical fibre

infrastructure that we can meet the requirements of the Fourth

Industrial Revolution technologies such as Internet-of-Things, Artificial

Intelligence, Robotics and Big Data.

HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

Botswana’s Human Capital and the Knowledge Based Economy

161. Mister Speaker, The development of a knowledge based economy is

dependent upon building synergies across the different sectors of our

economy. It is within this context that our education quality assurance

system will be closely aligned to those of professional bodies. In simple

terms, we are going to witness closer collaboration between the

Botswana Qualifications Authority and professional bodies like the

Botswana Health Professionals Council, the Engineers Registration Board

and the Architects Registration Council. This will go a long way towards

engendering quality and relevance of our education to the job market.

Most importantly, this endeavour will enhance the global

competitiveness of our citizens.

162. Mister Speaker, Due to the ever evolving needs and expectations by

the public on the nature and manner of how services should be

delivered, Government continues to look for ways and means that will

facilitate and enable public officers to deliver efficient and consistent

service to the nation. To ensure that this happens, Government has

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developed a Productivity Improvement Blue Print to tackle the most

problematic areas of poor work ethic, inefficient government

bureaucracy, inadequately educated workforce, restrictive labour laws

and corruption. In addition, Government has developed an action plan

to respond to the challenges outlined in the 2018 Global Competitiveness

Report. The implementation of this action plan is ongoing.

163. Government is also in the process of formulating the Public Service

Human Resources Framework whose intention is to enable the Botswana

Public Service to manage their human resources effectively by providing

a linkage between human resource policies and procedures. This will

form the backbone which will enable the Public Service to anticipate

future service delivery needs and equip it to plan and cater for

addressing those needs in a seamless manner.

164. The Botswana Public Service College (BPSC) continues to deliver diverse

programmes that are targeted at closing competency gaps for Public

officers. This involves, amongst others the review of current

programmes as well as building effective collaborations. Rutgers, the

State University of New Jersey is one of the institutions which, through

its experience will assist the BPSC to enrich its programmes as well as

introduce the use of e-learning to reach an extensive client base.

165. Deliberate efforts are also being made to ensure the creation of a

succession pool through the development of a talent management and

succession planning framework. Furthermore, Government will progress

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the implementation of a development based Assessment process as well

as assess the impact of programmes to respond to current needs. The

operationalization of the Botswana Public Service

Assessment/Development Centre (AC/DC) is at an advanced stage with

sourcing for key personnel and other logistical arrangements being done

to have the Centre piloted by April 2020.

Industrial Relations

166. Mister Speaker, Social dialogue remains the pillar of good industrial

relations in the country. To this end, there are Sixty (60) registered

Trade Unions, two Trade Union Federations and one Employers’

Organisation. The number of Trade Unions has gone down as a result

of the cancellation of three (3) Trade Unions in May 2019 due to noncompliance with the Trade Unions and Employers’ Organisations Act and

the dissolution of one (1) Trade Union.

Labour Relations

167. Mister Speaker, Tripartite partners comprising representatives of

Government, employers and workers are finalising the Botswana Decent

Work Country Programme (BDWCP) for 2019–2023. Priorities for the

Programme are Employment creation, Social Dialogue, Social Protection

and Compliance with International Standards.

168. Government in collaboration with representatives of employers and

workers continues to make progress in the review of labour laws in order

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to close the gaps in the laws and align them with the provisions of the

International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions that have been

ratified by Botswana. The consultation process in this regard has

resulted in the adoption of the revised list of essential services which is

deemed to be in compliance with ILO Convention No. 87.

169. All these underline the commitment of the Government to promote

workers’ rights and doing business. It is critical that the outcome of

the consultation process in this regard should be in the best interest of

Botswana. Consequently, the implementation of the outcome of this

process requires full consultation between the relevant Ministry and all

stakeholders.

170. As Botswana continues to strive for decent work, minimum wage rates

were increased by 17 percent for all sectors with the exception of

Agriculture and Domestic sectors which were increased to One

Thousand Pula (P1000) per month with effect from the 1st July 2019.

171. To foster and strengthen work place Occupational Health and Safety

compliance, it has become necessary that the Factories and Workers

Compensation Acts be reviewed in line with international standards. The

review of the laws is expected to help reduce accidents and occupational

diseases affecting the workforce which have a negative impact on

compensation claims. Furthermore, a draft Occupational Health and

Safety Policy has been developed. The review of the Acts and

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finalisation of the Policy are expected to be completed in this financial

year.

172. To maintain good industrial relations in the country, Government has

committed to strengthening the Labour Inspection function. The

strengthening of the function seeks to promote social dialogue at the

workplace which in turn would reduce the number of trade disputes

referred for mediation. A Labour Inspection Policy is being developed to

provide a framework for the function. The Development of the Policy is

expected to be completed in December 2019.

173. Government is determined to improve its relationship with Public Sector

Unions, and it is working towards the resuscitation of the Public Service

Bargaining Council (PSBC), which collapsed in 2017 due to

misunderstandings between both parties. The PSBC remains the legal

platform through which issues of employment relations ought to be

negotiated and agreed upon, thereby promoting a harmonious

relationship between the Government as the employer and employee

organisations. It therefore calls for each concerned party to commit to

the Council’s resuscitation.

174. Mister Speaker, Government is committed to building constructive

employer/employee relations and transforming Botswana into a high

performing nation that leverages on the Fourth Industrial Revolution to

improve public service delivery and citizen participation to fast track

employment generation and socio economic development.

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175. In our pursuit of Public Service efficiency and effectiveness, Government

and Public Service Unions, as partners, have been working hard to foster

good employee relations in the Public Service. So far, some notable

milestones have been achieved, which include the successful conclusion

of salary negotiations between Government and Public Service Unions,

176. In August 2019, Government and Public Service Unions concluded a

monumental agreement on PEMANDU and other conditions of service

for Public Service employees. Some of the key issues that the parties

were able to agree on are; Remuneration Policy for the Public Service,

the Development of a Fan shaped salary structure, the increase of

Medical Aid Contributions by Government for employees on salary

Grades A and B, as well as an increase of the monthly Salaries of Public

Service employees on grades A to D.

177. Government is currently working on the development of a Public Service

remuneration policy, the development of a new salary structure with an

inter grade differential to facilitate pay for performance and reduce

stagnation.

178. Furthermore, in October 2019, my Government took a decision on the

re-employment of former Public Service employees who were dismissed

as a direct result of having participated in the Public Service National

industrial strike of 2011. So far two hundred and twenty nine (229)

former employees have submitted requests for reemployment.

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179. It is also worth noting Mister Speaker that following the completion of

work by the Commission led by Honourable Justice Monametsi,

Government has adopted most of the recommendations by the

Commission to improve the conditions of service for the Members of

Parliament, Councillors, Ntlo Ya Dikgosi and the Judiciary.

180. Mister Speaker, although some milestones have been achieved, there

is still more that needs to be done. The focus now should be on the

critical outstanding issues relating to the resuscitation of the Public

Service Bargaining Council and the Review of Labour Laws. I wish to

urge relevant parties to speed up the process of concluding this

important task.

181. That notwithstanding, Government and recognized Public Service Trade

Unions successfully negotiated salary adjustments for the financial years

2019/20 and 2020/21 in February 2019. Government shall continue to

promote the relationship with the Public Sector Unions to ensure that

any animosity between the two parties is permanently dealt with.

182. Employee Safety at the workplace continues to be a challenge, and

therefore, the Government through its structures, is committed to

reducing work related injuries and diseases at all cost. The Safety Health

and Environment Unit at the Directorate of Public Service Management

was established solely to ensure safety at the workplace and to drive

the program across Government.

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SPORT AND CULTURE DEVELOPMENT

Sport Development

183. As part of Government’s initiative to promote Botswana as a destination

of choice for major conferences and international events, Botswana

hosted two major sporting events, being the African Union Sports

Council Region 5 Youth Games and the Africa Karate Championships.

Botswana will strive to host more international sporting events not only

to attract foreign direct investment, but also to develop the capacity of

our people and create jobs. In addition to hosting, our National teams

continue to achieve encouraging results with a total of Two Hundred and

Thirty Two (232) medals won, Eighty One (81) of which are gold, in

international sporting events over the last twelve months.

 

184. Government continues to develop sport infrastructure across the country

to promote participation in sports and recreation. A project aimed at

providing basic sporting facilities to the rural and semi-urban

communities where there is shortage of such facilities is currently

underway. The project is being implemented in the following localities;

Bobonong, Goodhope, Kanye, Kasane, Mmadinare, Moshupa, Rakops,

Tonota, Tsabong and Tutume. Over Fifty million Pula (P50 million) has

been allocated for the ten (10) projects, and it is expected that during

construction jobs will be created in all the localities.

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Cultural and Creative Industries

185. In recognition of the talent of our people and the potential of the cultural

and creative industries to create jobs, my Government has initiated

processes to improve legislation and policy frameworks for the sector.

This includes the review of the Cinematography Act, the development of

the National Arts Council Act and the accession to the UNESCO 2005

Convention on the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

TRANSPORT SECTOR

Aviation Sector

186. Mister Speaker, the development of facilities and improvement of

business for the aviation industry is expected to contribute immensely

towards the growth of tourism, mining as well as various business and

trade opportunities; which will subsequently contribute to the growth of

the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

187. Government will continue to develop our transport infrastructure in

order to attract investors and tourists. Considering the importance of

Maun in the growth of tourism, efforts to decongest its airport terminal

are underway. A decongestion Terminal project was started in April

2019. This project is anticipated to be completed within twelve (12)

months.

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188. The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) in partnership with SEZA

will also develop the landside at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport

as a way to maximize the non-aeronautical revenue space. The idea

behind this partnership is to create value from the Sir Seretse Khama

International Airport landside, which is approximately Five Hundred and

Seventy Three hectares (573Ha) and further achieve the expectations

of the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) Act of 2011 of

becoming financially viable.

The Open Skies Policy

189. Mister Speaker Botswana, upon the implementation of the Open skies

policy, will add significantly to the growth of the Aviation Industry. A

total of six main airports are operational in Botswana in addition to

twenty (20) secondary airfields designed for the operation of aircraft to

a maximum all up weight (MAUW) of Five Thousand, Seven Hundred

kilograms (5700kg). The overall connectivity of Botswana to the African

region is mainly driven through the four major airports being; the Sir

Seretse Khama International Airport, the Maun International Airport, the

Kasane International Airport and the Phillip Matante International Airport

in Francistown.

190. Scheduled international movements are offered by five carriers, which

are Air Botswana, Air Namibia, Ethiopian Airlines, SA Airlink and South

African Express. These airlines offer direct connections between

Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Ethiopia. The new scheduled

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services will expand our connectivity to three more destinations being;

Victoria Falls, Harare and Lusaka. Qatar Airways will add to the operators

by starting to fly into the country in mid-December 2019.

191. Furthermore, Air Botswana will also commence operations to Harare and

Lusaka, exercising fifth Freedom traffic rights between Lusaka and

Harare. Over and above these, another airline, Mack Airline, has been

licensed by CAAB to carry out scheduled services between Maun and

Windhoek and between Kasane and Victoria Falls. The operation is

anticipated to commence during the last quarter of this financial year.

192. Air Botswana with the assistance of Government, procured three of the

four aircraft it needs to effectively operate and deliver on its mandate,

as per its current 2016-2021 turnaround strategy. The three aircraft,

namely the two ATR72-600 and the Embraer E170 jet have been

integrated into operation. The airline is still awaiting the Foreign

Operators Permit (FOP) from the Governments of South Africa,

Zimbabwe and Zambia to facilitate jet operation.

Road Development

193. Mister Speaker, Road infrastructure development remains a

fundamental aspect of sustainable economic growth and thus

Government will continue to view it as one of the country’s priority areas.

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194. During the 2019/20 financial year, a number of construction projects

have commenced, and are at various stages of completion. One of the

most significant is the Kazungula Bridge Project – a bilateral project

between Botswana and Zambia which includes the development of a

One Stop Border Post (OSBP) facility straddling the bridge.

195. Other projects and their expected completion dates are; the Mohembo

Bridge Project due for completion in October 2020 according to the

revised programme, the upgrading of the Gaborone-Boatle twenty

kilometre (20km) dual carriage way due for completion in February

2020, the Dibete-Mookane-Machaneng One Hundred and Thirty Two

Kilometre (132km) road due for completion in August 2020, the

Tshesebe-Masunga fifty one kilometre (51km) road due for completion

in August 2021, the Charleshill-Ncojane One Hundred and Nine kilometre

(109km) road due for completion in April 2020, the Mabeleapudi-Serule,

Sixty One and a half kilometre (61.5km) road due for completion in July

2020, and the Mosu-Tlhalamabele twenty eight kilometre (28km) road

due for completion in July 2020.

196. Other construction works being implemented under the Output and

Performance-based Road Contracts along the A10 and A2 roads, are the

Mmankgodi Junction-Kanye-Jwaneng and the B101 road RakhunaTlhareseleele-Pitsane-Phitshane Molopo-Mabule road which is due for

completion in December 2019.

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197. Mister Speaker, following the agreement between the Government of

Botswana and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, a

Feasibility study is being conducted for the reconstruction of the

dilapidated Nata-Maun road. This will pave the way for the upgrading of

the road, which is planned for in the next financial year.

198. Government will also design and reconstruct the A3 road from

Francistown to Nata and Maun-Mohembo, some sections of the NataKazungula road and the Palapye-Martin’s Drift road. The A3 road plays

an important role in linking Botswana with Central Africa as we anticipate

the increase in freight transport upon the completion of the Kazungula

Bridge.

Road Maintenance

199. Mister Speaker, Government is aware of the status of some of the

roads in the country which require urgent attention with regard to

maintenance interventions. Government intends to ensure that these

roads become acceptable for use.

200. Road sections that have been completed through periodic maintenance

during the 2018/19 financial year are: the Sehithwa-Kuke Eighty Six

kilometre (86km) Road, the Gantsi Junction-Tsootsha Road Section A,

Forty kilometre (40km) road, the Artesia-Dibete Forty Seven (47km)

Road, the Makalamabedi-Maun, Sixty One kilometre (61km) Road, the

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A3 Mathangwane Road section, the A2 Junction 44-Mmamuno Road,

and the Molepolole-Lephephe Ninety Four kilometre (94km) road.

Road Safety

201. Mister Speaker, road safety remains a public safety challenge as

witnessed by the number of lives lost on our roads. Collaborative efforts

with all relevant stakeholders in reducing road traffic accidents that

result in fatal and serious injuries are being pursued. To this end, the

Botswana Police Service, the Roads Department and the Health Services

sector will continue to take a leading role in reducing the number of

accidents on our roads.

Botswana Integrated Transport Project (BITP)

202. Mister Speaker, The supply and installation of equipment for the New

Greater Gaborone Traffic Signals System Modernization and Provision of

a Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) project, was launched in August 2019

and onsite installation is currently in progress. This project will

modernise the traffic signals system in Greater Gaborone to be

responsive to peak and off-peak traffic changes. It will also be centrally

controlled, resulting in overall improvement in traffic flow. The

construction of three (3) Interchanges along the K T Motsete Drive

(“Western Bypass”) was launched in October 2019 and site clearance

works commenced this past Friday, on 15 November 2019.

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203. Meanwhile, the design for Layout Improvements of Selected

Intersections associated with the new Traffic Signals system is underway

(due for completion by March 2020) and construction is expected to

commence in the coming financial year. Under the Botswana Integrated

Transport Project, Government will also complete the National Multimodal Transport Master Plan and the Greater Gaborone Transport

Master Plan, during the coming financial year. These will guide future

transport development nationally and within the Greater Gaborone

context.

Rail Transport

204. Mister Speaker, Botswana Railways has identified key infrastructural

projects which need to be undertaken during NDP 11. These projects

will promote economic diversification and international trade. Amongst

these projects are conducting the feasibility of the Mmamabula –

Lephalale Rail Line. The proposed new rail link would start at

Mmamabula Coal Fields and end at Lephalale, where it will connect with

the South African railway network.

205. The other project by Botswana Railways is to carry out a feasibility study

for an estimated Three Hundred and Sixty Seven kilometre (367 km)

railway line from Mosetse to Kazungula. The Mosetse – Kazungula

Railway Line will link the Botswana and Zambian rail network creating a

direct north-south corridor from Botswana through to the Republic of

South Africa.

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The Commuter Train Service

206. Mister Speaker, Government intends to reduce traffic congestion and

road accidents particularly in the greater Gaborone area. In order to

realise this, the Botswana Railways has introduced a commuter service

train from Lobatse to Gaborone. This service is currently using mainline

locomotives and coaches which are expensive to maintain. Therefore,

Government is considering introducing Diesel Multiple Units (DMU’s)

which are fit for purpose, to run this service. As soon as the DMUs are

purchased, the Commuter Train Service will also be extended to areas

between Pilane and Gaborone and will include stops such as Morwa,

Mmamashia, Phakalane and Sebele.

LAND

Land Use Planning and Management

207. Mister Speaker, Government has identified land use as a critical factor

in the development of the economy and empowerment of citizens of this

country. As one of the facilitative initiatives for improved land use

planning, Government approved the National Spatial Plan (NSP) in June

2019. The NSP is a framework that provides guidance for planning future

development and investment in the country. This plan is currently in the

process of being mainstreamed into other processes, such as the

national development planning process, in order to facilitate optimal

developmental outcomes for Botswana.

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208. In an endeavour to create vibrant urban centres with capabilities to

unlock opportunities for development and the promotion of innovative

economic activities, Government has prepared revitalization plans for

strategic areas in Francistown, Lobatse, Selebi Phikwe, Kasane and

Kazungula. These plans once fully adopted and implemented, will play a

pivotal role in leading the transformation and revitalisation of these

towns and cities, making them more attractive to investors.

209. Government has significantly invested in the land registration system

and improvements on land administration, through the Land

Administration Procedures Capacity and Systems (LAPCAS) project. This

project was conceived with a view to develop efficient, effective and

transparent land administration by devising a system through which all

land rights in the country would be surveyed and registered.

WATER

210. Mister Speaker, the Government of Botswana remains committed to

the provision of potable water and sanitation services. Several

governance and legislative instruments geared towards the provision of

clean water and safely managed sanitation, are currently being

developed. In support of this endeavour, the 1968 Water Act and its

related pieces of legislation, are being reviewed.

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National Water Security

211. Mister Speaker, the total water demand currently stands at two

hundred and forty - five million cubic meters (245Mm3

). The demand is

expected to increase to three hundred and forty million cubic meters

(340Mm3

) by 2035. The main water sources are surface water,

groundwater and wastewater reuse. The water supply status is at two

hundred and twenty-five Million Cubic Metre (225Mm3.)

212. Botswana is consistently experiencing hydrological droughts that lead to

challenges in water security. Climate change uncertainty calls for the

need to put in place a water security strategy. The strategy would

include water conservation, reclamation and recycling, groundwater

exploration; wellfields expansion and mega-transfer schemes such as

Chobe-Zambezi, Lesotho Highlands and the utilization of sea water from

the Atlantic Ocean are the potential sources for water security. At

present there are a number of water and sanitation infrastructure

development projects that are being implemented. These are network

rehabilitation; upgrade and refurbishment of systems; and water

conveyance pipelines from already existing resources to demand areas.

213. The optimisation of the North South Water Carrier was completed in

June 2019. The objective of the project was to improve water supply for

the Greater Gaborone area by increasing the water flows to the

Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant from seven hundred (700) litters per

second to a minimum of one thousand (1000) litters per second and a

maximum of one thousand, three hundred and fifty (1350) litters per

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second. Currently the pump station is delivering one thousand, two

hundred (1200) litters per second.

214. Efforts towards wastewater reuse are done through the rehabilitation of

the Glen Valley Treatment Plant and the Glen Valley Reclamation

projects. The rehabilitation of the Glen Valley Wastewater Treatment

Plant is to ensure compliance of treated sewage with the requirements

for reclamation. The project will bring back the Glen Valley Wastewater

Treatment Plant to a treatment capacity of ninety million litres per day

(90Ml/day). The Rehabilitation project commenced in May 2019 and is

to be completed by April 2020. Meanwhile the Glen Valley Water

Reclamation is at feasibility stage. The project is intended to reclaim

sixty (60) million litres a day to augment water supply in the greater

Gaborone area.

215. Sustainable groundwater supply capacity stands at ninety six million

cubic metres (96Mm3

) but presently the amount of groundwater use is

twenty eight million cubic metres (28Mm3

), which is approximately 30

percent of sustainable supply capacity. Efforts to optimize the utilization

of groundwater resources are done through projects such as the

construction of the one hundred kilometres (100km) pipeline from

Masama Wellfields to Mmamashia, which is meant to increase water

supply to the Southern part of Botswana by sixty four million litres per

day (64Ml/day). The project is intended to mitigate the existing deficit

in the greater Gaborone area, and address the imminent severe supply

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deficit following the connection of Thamaga, Moshupa and Kanye to the

North South Carrier.

ENERGY

Regulation of the Energy Industry

216. Mister Speaker, Government continues to undertake organizational

reforms to align its mandate to promote economic inclusion and green

technology. Government is currently reviewing and developing

appropriate regulations to create an enabling environment for wealth

creation in the energy sector. In this regard Government is reviewing

the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) Act and Draft

Regulations, the Draft Petroleum Products Bill as well as the Gas Bill to

regulate and facilitate the private sector.

217. Therefore the coming into operation of such an Act will provide for the

manufacturing, supply, storage, distribution retail and use of the

petroleum products. The Act will also facilitate the operation of

Botswana Oil Limited. The existence of the Act will provide for the

development and operation of upstream and downstream activities such

as exploration, production, supply, storage, distribution, retail and the

use of gas products.

218. BERA continues to monitor the activities, conduct and compliance of

industry players to ensure that there is increased economic contribution

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in the trading of petroleum products. As a result of the effective

monitoring, the Regulator has confiscated about Three Hundred and Ten

Thousand (310 000) litres of fuel worth Two Million, Nine Hundred and

Forty Five thousand Pula (P2.945 million).

Security of Supply of Petroleum Products

219. Mister Speaker, to further ensure national security of fuel supply, the

Government is developing additional strategic fuel storage facilities

through Botswana Oil Limited (BOL). These are the one hundred and

Eighty Six (186) million litres Tshele Hills storage to be implemented

through Public Private Partnership (PPP). The project is at the inception

stage and will pave way for the procurement of the developer.

220. In promoting access to petroleum products in remote areas, which are

traditionally not serviced by the International Oil Companies (IOCs),

Botswana Oil is working on introducing Remote Area Energy Centres

(RAECs) which are effectively small containerized mobile filling stations

that are aimed at promoting access to petroleum products in remote

areas.

The Solar Energy Programme

221. Mister Speaker, Solar Energy is going to be promoted vigorously so

that it becomes a significant contributor to the energy sector.

Government is also developing Solar Guidelines to enable Batswana to

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generate electricity for their own use while selling any excess to the

Botswana Power Corporation up to a limit that will be defined by the

Regulator. These guidelines, are envisaged to be completed by the end

of this financial year. This will help to diversify power generation away

from dependence on thermal generation and further economically

empower Batswana.

Electricity Generation, Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure

222. Mister Speaker, the main power infrastructure development projects

being undertaken by Government through the Botswana Power

Corporation (BPC) include the refurbishment of Morupule A, a One

Hundred and Thirty Two Megawatt (132MW) Power Station, Morupule

B, a Six Hundred Megawatt (600MW) Power Station, defects

remediation, extension, reinforcement and refurbishment of the

transmission and distribution network as well as the electrification of

villages.

223. Significant progress is being made to achieve self-sufficiency in power

generation with the return to service of the Morupule A Power Station

before the end of this financial year.

224. The Morupule B defects remediation project which is meant to address

the ensuing plant performance challenges, is now at the implementation

stage with the remedial works having commenced on the first Unit in

June 2019. All construction and equipment defects which are impacting

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on the Morupule B plant viability, should be addressed in the next four

(4) years. This plant will thereafter be expected to operate reliably,

generating Six Hundred Megawatts (600MW) of power. A study to

determine future generation requirements beyond 2024 is underway

and is expected to be completed before the end of this financial year.

225. Mister Speaker, the North West Transmission Grid extension project

is at an advanced stage, with the grid switch on scheduled for the end

of March 2020. This project will stimulate mining activities in the North

West region.

226. Another initiative being the Rural Electrification Project, is currently

ongoing. As at October 2019, sixty (60) villages have been completed

from the planned one hundred and fifteen (115) villages. The ongoing

electrification of villages provides access to clean energy to rural

communities, which is fundamental for socio economic development and

poverty eradication.

MINING

Minerals Sector

227. Mister Speaker, a combination of factors have contributed to

widespread uncertainty and a global downturn in the diamond industry

during the first half of 2019. Economic uncertainty generated by an

unstable geopolitical climate has also fostered a heightened sense of

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caution among the banks that finance the trade, as well as diamond

brokers and consumers of luxury goods.

228. The execution of the Jwaneng Mine Cut 9 commenced in April 2019 and

will extend the life of the mine from 2028 to 2035. The project is

envisaged to employ One Thousand One Hundred and Fifty Three

(1153) people at peak production, of which 98 percent will be citizens.

The Jwaneng Cut 9 project will bring about benefits including the

establishment of a Mining Equipment Component Rebuild Centre in

Botswana. The Debswana Mining Company is also planning to reopen

the Apprentice and Artisan Training Centre. The Company aims to

develop citizen suppliers in key areas of the diamond value chain.

Jwaneng mine currently employs Four Thousand, seven Hundred and

Fifty Six (4756) people of which Four Thousand, Six Hundred and

Seventy One (4671) or 98.2 percent are citizens.

229. The Letlhakane Mine Tailings Treatment project started in 2016 and the

Company is doing a feasibility study to evaluate options of going

underground. Lucara Botswana is doing a feasibility study at the Karowe

mine with a strategic plan to go underground in 2023 to increase the life

span of the mine to 2041. Karowe Mine currently employs Eight Hundred

and Sixty Two (862) people of which Eight Hundred and Fifty (850) or

98.6 percent are citizens.

230. Khoemacau Copper Mining, in the North West has started the

construction of the boxcuts at Zone 5 mining concession with

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anticipation to start concentrate exportation during the first quarter of

2021. Three boxcuts whose ground breaking ceremony was performed

in June 2019 are being constructed. The Construction of the haul road

from Zone 5 to the Bosetu plant in Toteng has commenced and will be

used to transport ore from the mine to the plant. The mine currently

employs Eight Hundred and Fourteen (814) people of which Seven

Hundred and Eighty One (781) or 95.9 percent are citizens.

231. Minergy Coal has completed the boxcut and exposed the coal and the

plant is operational and the mine has started to export coal to the

Republic of South Africa. Ghaghoo Mine in the Central Kgalagadi Game

Reserve which has been under the Care and Maintenance of a liquidator

since the first quarter of 2017 has found an investor who is considering

its acquisition. The mine currently employs ninety five (95) people of

whom ninety four (94) or 98.9 percent are citizens.

Bamangwato Concessions Limited (BCL)

232. Mister Speaker, the Task team setup to carry out an evaluation to

delineate the BCL assets completed their work at the end of June 2019.

The report from the Task Team was submitted to the new liquidators to

consider the findings and facilitate decision making on the next stage.

Since taking over the liquidation process in August this year, the new

Liquidator has given seven (7) companies permission to carryout due

diligence reviews on the BCL and Tati Mining assets, to inform

themselves if they can invest in the assets. Government continues to

88

support the liquidation process by funding care and maintenance costs

to preserve the assets while investors are still doing their due diligence.

It must be appreciated that this is a delicate and complex exercise that

will take time to evaluate and implement.

Diamonds Industry Performance

233. The global diamond industry in the first half of 2019 has faced a variety

of challenges leading to widespread uncertainty and declining commerce

across all segments of the diamond value chain. Sales for the first seven

(7) months of 2019 were Two billion, Two Hundred million US Dollars

(2.2 billion USD) as compared to Two billion, Eight Hundred million US

Dollars (2.8 billion USD) during the same period last year, signifying a

reduction in sales of 21 percent. Over the first seven (7) months of 2019,

an array of interrelated developments across the entire value chain have

exerted pressure on Botswana’s diamond production and sales. One of

the key drivers of the first-half slowdown was the over stocking of

polished diamonds by the retailer thus reducing the demand for rough

diamonds.

234. Despite the prevailing challenges in the sector, Botswana remained the

single largest contributor to the increase in the value of the world's

diamond production in 2018, as we increased our output by Six (6)

percent to twenty four point four (24.4) million carats while the average

price earned for our rough diamonds remained steady at, One Hundred

and forty five US Dollars per carat ($145/ct).

89

235. Government has developed a diamond beneficiation strategy in order to

enable citizen participation in the diamond value chain. Among other

things, the strategy is expected to equip citizens with appropriate

industry skills, general management and leadership skills as well as

incubation of citizen businesses.

GOVERNANCE

Democracy and Good Governance

236. Mister Speaker, Botswana remains committed to uphold the shared

values of democracy, good governance, the rule of law and the respect

for human rights. These universal ideals are, undoubtedly, the

foundation for any sustainable development, peace, unity and

prosperity, of which my Government is steadfast in their preservation

and advancement.

237. As I stated in my Inaugural Speech recently my Government intends to

conduct a comprehensive review of the Constitution of Botswana. This

critical exercise, aims to remove any provisions that may be deemed

discriminatory as well as strengthen the functions of oversight

institutions thus improving Botswana’s functional democracy. The

envisaged review will be conducted in accordance with one of our

fundamental national principles of consultation for inclusiveness.

90

238. The adoption of the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Bill by the 11th

Parliament, in August this year, is a commendable milestone in our

resolve as a nation to intensify our efforts to fight corruption. It also

demonstrates my Government’s commitment to fulfil our international

obligations contained in multilateral instruments such as the United

Nations Convention Against Corruption. The establishment of the Ethics

and Integrity Directorate, which will be responsible for administering the

law on the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities as well as conflict of

interest, is currently underway. The Office is expected to be operational

by December 2019.

239. We are enhancing the transparency and maturity of our democracy

through the reinforcement of the foundations of good governance. The

constitutional review and the strengthening of the functions of oversight

institutions as well as declarations of assets and liabilities are measures

that ensure that justice is not just done, but seen to be done. These

measures will speak to the conviction that upholding of the rule of law

is sacrosanct and not negotiable. We are taking these steps to entrench

the ideal that no one is above the law.

240. When our forebears laid these foundations, they bestowed upon us the

legacy of continuity through the fortification of the pillars of our

democracy so that they can stand the test of time. We are steadfast in

the determination to ensure that Botswana remains clean of

contaminants that can steer us away from the path of democracy and

good governance that we so proudly inherited from our forefathers.

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241. In February this year, Botswana acceded to the Africa Peer Review

Mechanism (APRM), whose overarching objective is to promote political

and economic governance with a view to achieve political stability,

accelerated continental integration as well as sustainable development.

Botswana’s membership to this Continental self-assessment mechanism

will further enrich her strong democratic culture.

242. In an effort to bring services closer to the public, as well as increasing

accessibility, the Office of the Ombudsman has decentralised its services

which are now available in Gaborone, Francistown, Maun and more

recently Tsabong. The Tsabong office is at the initial stage of operation

whilst the other three are fully functional.

Public Sector Reforms

243. Mister Speaker, in order to improve public service efficiency, my

Government has embarked upon a rationalization exercise of ministerial

portfolio responsibilities and functions. To this end, Government is

considering the rationalisation of Government Ministries to improve

service delivery, eliminating any duplication and overlaps of

responsibilities across sectors, closing any existing structural gaps as

well as identifying obsolete functions. Moreover, Government will

consider a re-labelling exercise of Government Ministries to make their

names, easy, relevant and more meaningful to people.

92

244. The National Transformation Strategy is key to the turnaround of

Botswana’s economic fortunes. In this regard, the National

Transformation Task Team’s functions will be aligned with the National

Vision 2036 Council for delivering our national objectives. The alignment

will encompass our local government structures as well as Village

Development Committees, thereby enabling ownership and

responsibility to deliver on our National Vision to Batswana.

The National Monitoring and Evaluation System

245. Botswana continues to strengthen public sector management

implementation of the National Monitoring and Evaluation System

(NMES). The main purpose of this System is to promote the use of

performance information for evidence-based policy and decision making

to improve public sector performance. The ongoing Mid-Term Review

process of NDP 11 provides an opportunity for Thematic Working Groups

(TWGs) to use the indicators and their targets, as contained in the NDP

11 Performance Framework, to objectively review the implementation of

NDP 11.

Legislative Review

246. Mister Speaker, The Ombudsman Act of 1995 is currently being

amended to broaden its mandate by conferring on it the responsibility

to protect and promote human rights. In that respect, the new law shall

give the Office of the Ombudsman enough powers to effectively execute

its functions.

93

247. In the last financial year the office recorded a high reduction of backlog

cases as it attained a 91.8 percent backlog resolution rate. The

achievement was made possible by closer engagement of the

Ombudsman with Accounting Officers to deepen understanding of the

process of complaint resolution. Furthermore, the formalisation of the

preparation of annual case lists to Government has had a positive impact

on the case resolution rate.

248. In 2018, Parliament enacted a total of Twenty Five (25) Acts in order to

comply with FATF Recommendations on the prevention and control of

the laundering of the proceeds of crime, the financing of terrorism and

the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The

Twenty five (25) Acts referred to have similarly met the Sustainable

Development Goal 16 on Just, Peaceful and Inclusive Societies. The

targets for SDG 16 include significant reduction of illicit financial and

arms flows; to strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and

to combat all forms of organized crime; to reduce corruption and bribery

in all their forms; and to develop effective, accountable and transparent

institutions at all levels by preventing violence and combatting terrorism

and crime.

249. In this respect, in October 2018, Botswana made a request for the rerating of the twenty five (25) Anti Money Laundering and Combating

Financing of Terrorism legislation enacted in 2018 for its compliance with

the FATF standards. The re-rating of Botswana laws was undertaken by

94

ESAAMLG at their 37th Meeting of Senior Officials held in Tanzania on

April 2019. The outcome of the request was that, of thirty eight (38)

FATF Recommendations requested for re-rating, only thirty two (32)

were granted.

250. In order to ensure full compliance of Botswana’s laws with FATF

standards, the Financial Intelligence Act, the Trust Property Act, the

Counter-Terrorism Regulations and the Financial Intelligence

Regulations are being amended to close the gaps identified during the

re-rating of Botswana’s laws. Botswana will submit a second request for

re-rating for consideration by ESAAMLG at their April 2020 meeting.

Access to Justice and the Rule of Law

251. Mister Speaker, the core mandate of the Judiciary is to interpret the

law and resolve disputes. The focus and priority this year is on

restructuring the Judiciary to make it more relevant and responsive to

the emerging trends of the 21st century. A major milestone in the judicial

history of this country is that, the Judiciary has been fully localized. As

a result, the judicial interpretation of the laws is relevant to the customs

and norms of the nation.

252. Mister Speaker, Government has established a Corruption Court to

deal solely with all forms of corruption. This is also intended to enhance

the disposal of these cases which tend to take long to prosecute. The

95

Court will be rolled out to other High Court divisions since it has been

operating at only one High Court.

Office of the Receiver

253. Mister Speaker, the Office of the Receiver was established by the

Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act (PICA), with a mandate to seize,

manage and preserve the value of property in its possession until the

Court decides how the property should be dealt with. As at July 2019,

the Receiver had been served with twenty-one (21) Court Orders

directing him to take over the management of immovable and movable

property including residential and industrial plots, vehicles, furniture,

farms, cattle and cash.

Refugee Management

254. Mister Speaker, As of October 2019, there were two thousand nine

hundred and ninety nine (2999) refugees in Botswana. This number has

significantly declined as seven hundred and seventy (770) Namibian

nationals whose refugee status in Botswana had ceased, were

successfully and cordially returned to Namibia. This exercise was

conducted under the United Nations High Commission for Refugees

(UNHCR) guidance and supervision.

96

NATIONAL SECURITY

The Botswana Defence Force

255. Mister Speaker, a strong and prosperous Botswana is premised on the

assurance of national security. Botswana as an independent and

sovereign state has to ensure the security of its people and its territorial

integrity. To this effect, the Botswana Defence Force is being recapacitated to effectively carry out its mandate.

256. Beyond national defence and our frontiers, Botswana as a responsible

member of the international community has obligations through

organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union and

Southern African Development Community to contribute to the

maintenance of international peace and security. For this reason, the

BDF is undergoing relevant restructuring and training to enable it to take

part in peacekeeping and other security operations.

The Botswana Police Service

257. In the quest to ensure public safety and protection the Botswana Police

Service has actively adopted Community Policing Strategy, which allows

the police and the community to work closely to combat crime, with

notable success. The determination of the Police Service to reduce crime

has enhanced public confidence in the police locally, and placed

Botswana as a country in good standing in the international arena.

97

258. The Police Service investigation capacity has also been enhanced to

appropriately deal with drug and human trafficking, fraud, money

laundering and cyber - attacks through the establishment of

International Relations and Cyber Forensics Departments.

Prisons and Rehabilitation

259. Mister Speaker, the daily average population in Prisons is 7.6

percent below the authorized holding capacity due to a reduction in the

number of offenders incarcerated and successful rehabilitation

programmes. This effort will be complemented by finalization of a

National Prisoner Rehabilitation Policy in 2020.

FOREIGN POLICY

260. Mister Speaker, as I stated in my last State of the Nation address,

Botswana continues to nurture friendly relations with other countries

and forge strategic partnerships with the international community for

her benefit and the greater good of humanity. In this context, I am

pleased to note that in the last year, relations between Botswana and

other countries, as well as international organisations, has continued to

mature and assume a more strategic significance.

261. This has been evidently illustrated by the number of high level

exchanges undertaken with other countries, bilateral engagements at

various levels of Government, people to people interactions, the number

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of international conferences we hosted and the leadership roles we

assumed in regional as well as international organisations.

262. As you may be aware, in terms of engagements, I had the honour to

undertake State Visits to the Republic of Kenya and Qatar during this

period, while I also had the pleasure to host high level visits by the

Heads of State of the Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Namibia.

I further undertook working visits to the United States of America,

Poland, Switzerland, and South Africa.

263. Regionally, I have engaged extensively with my counterparts through

structured bilateral mechanisms, such as the Bi-National Commissions

(BNC). We thus held a Bi-National Commission with Zimbabwe in

February 2019. I also participated at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the

Assembly of Heads of State and Government Summit held in Addis

Ababa, Ethiopia in February, this year.

264. I note with satisfaction that in recognition of Botswana’s commitment

towards the regional agenda, she was assigned the following leadership

roles in the international system;

265. At the last SADC Summit held in Tanzania in August this year, Botswana

was elected to Chair the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and

Security Cooperation, a tenure that will commence in August 2020

until August 2021. This means the region has bestowed a huge

99

responsibility and honour on Botswana, to spearhead the regional peace

agenda.

266. Botswana also holds membership in the following critical Committees at

both the United Nations and the African Union, the United Nations

Economic and Social Council, the United Nations Committee of

Conferences, the United Nations Committee on Programmes and

Coordination as well as the African Unions Committee of Finance

Ministers.

267. We have also made headway in placing Batswana in strategic positions

in international organisations. In this regard, we remain deeply

appreciative of the support extended to us by SADC and the African

Union in the re-election of Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, to the position of Africa

Regional Director and the election of Justice Sanji Monageng as Judge

of the SADC Administrative Dispute Tribunal (SADCAT).

268. For the first time ever, Botswana participated at the highest political

level in the World Economic Forum, both in Davos, Switzerland and in

Cape Town, South Africa. Our participation at these high level fora

enabled us to meaningfully engage the international community to

secure favourable outcomes from bodies such as the United Nations

Conference on Trade and Development (UNTACD), the Joint Programme

on HIV/AIDS and the Office of the United Nations Secretary General. I

must say, these engagements are bearing fruit. A case in point was the

invaluable support we received from UNCTAD in devising innovative

100

strategies for Botswana’s transformation to a knowledge based

economy.

CONCLUSION

269. Mister Speaker, I wish to conclude my speech by reiterating the fact that

my Government places its citizens at the epicentre of its national

development agenda. Therefore, we have to ensure that all our citizens

are involved in the development process.

270. The achievements we have made over the past twelve months give

confidence to our national aspirations as we embark on our economic

transformation. I would like to highlight some of these achievements

that give impetus to my government’s commitment to transform the

lives of our people. These include;

 Record passing of legislation relating to anti-terrorism and anti-money

laundering ;

 The review of the land policy for mixed use by citizens;

 The relaxation of immigration laws to facilitate foreign investment;

 The improvement of relations with the labour movement;

 The Presidential Initiatives targeted towards generating youth

employment in the ICT and the creative industry sectors;

 The passing of the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act;

 The signing of African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement;

 The privatisation and management of campsites by citizens in

protected areas especially National Parks;

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 The review of the hunting ban to facilitate wildlife management

strategies and;

 The re-introduction of Community Based Natural Resources

Management.

271. The mandate bestowed upon us through the recent general election is

without doubt a refreshing and rejuvenating breeze as we strive forth to

develop our country and its people. It is a mandate that we uphold with

the utmost respect, and one that will not be returned with complacency.

Instead, we are even more resolute as Batswana, and full of gratitude

for the solid mandate. We aim to deliver, and in so doing, we shall take

it upon ourselves to ensure that we take everyone on board.

272. There is spring in the air; we are ushering in an airflow of media

freedom; there is a discernible current of business confidence in the

country; we are assured of the freedoms guaranteed in our Bill of Rights,

and the atmosphere that permits individual freedoms devoid of fear or

anxiety.

273. Batswana betsho, since this is the ploughing season, I urge all of you to

take advantage of the recent rains to plough.

274. I thank you all for your attention.

PULA

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