FRANCISTOWN: Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane, has appealed to local authorities to put a premium on partnerships with the private sector, to raise funds and ensure their sustainability.
Tsogwane was officiating at the Botswana Association for Local Authorities (BALA) 16th national conference on Tuesday at Adansonia Hotel. The four day long conference is themed ‘Unlocking investment opportunities-modernising service delivery.’
“Apart from ensuring sustainability, partnerships can also help Local Authorities to ensure that they operate smoothly. Public Private Partnerships (PPP) have the potential to diversify Botswana’s economy and create jobs for Batswana in the process alleviating poverty and consequently reducing dependence on the government.” “ The private sector should do this as an opportunity for business development. I also urge the public sector to be accommodative to the private sector as PPP partnerships can have an impact on economic development,” he said.
The chairman of BALA, Mpho Moruakgomo said 98% of funding at the local authorities comes from government.
“ This raises concern with regards to sustainability in terms of local government financing in Botswana. This would mean that we have to be innovative as local authorities in coming up with alternative sources of revenue for local authorities,” he said. He further said it had proven cumbersome for local authorities to rely on government funding considering the fact that there are many competing national priorities and therefore financing for local authorities has to compete with other national priorities. He added that this called for authorities to engage on initiatives such as PPPs, in order to raise funds to sustain themselves. Barclays Bank Botswana board chairman, Rizwan Desai, agreed that it was vital for local authorities to engage the private sector to generate funds. “I would submit that Barclays Bank of Botswana has no hesitation in leading the charge of the private sector to assist local authorities find the answers and solutions to make the lives of citizens easier and happier,” he said. BALA will also elect a new leadership at the conference, which ends on Thursday.