President Mokgweetsi Masisi has implored the private sector to help fight soaring inflation which is trending at 14 year highs. Masisi made the call here this morning when officially opening the 16th edition National Business Conference (NBC), a biennial event backed by Business Botswana.
The event brings together government and business leaders to come up with economic and business reforms to improve Botswana’s competitiveness globally.
The conference started today and will end on Wednesday. This year’s NBC is themed ‘Road Map to High Income – Accelerating Transformation’.
“The government cannot fight inflation alone. I therefore call upon all of you (private sector), to raise productivity levels of your companies so as to keep inflation in check,” Masisi said in his address.
He emphasised that an environment of high productivity, low and stable inflation would pave the way for Botswana to achieve the goal of a high income status.
“I look forward to cutting-edge ideas from this conference on how to boost productivity so as to maintain a low and stable inflationary environment. Productivity is after all important to get our economy growing at a very high rate,” he said.
Botswana has been battling Inflation since the beginning of the year. Inflation has largely been attributed to global supply challenges caused by COVID-19 as well as the Ukraine-Russia war which broke out early this year and has caused increases in the prices of food and fuel.
As a consequence there has been a rise in the cost of living which has seen inflation reaching 14.6 percent in August 2022, the highest rate since November 2008.
In a bid to counter inflation, government in August zero rated VAT on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as well as cooking oil, while also reducing the rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) to 12 percent from 14 percent. The interventions are for a period of six months, expiring in January.
Meanwhile, President Masisi also urged the conference to review existing government policies and the regulatory environment, as well as propose new and transformative reforms with a view of removing barriers.
Botswana has set her sight on attaining high income status by 2036 and to achieve that goal, Masisi stressed that it was vital for government working collaboratively with various stakeholders to constantly review her policies as well as legislative reforms to improve the welfare of Batswana.
“I am confident that all these will be done in the spirit of removing barriers while promoting trade and investment within and outside our borders,” he said.