SELEBI-PHIKWE: Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Nonofo Molefhi has said that Botswana lacks technological knowhow.
He added that technologically well-equipped countries are not willing to share their experience because they want to maintain their dominance in the market.
Speaking at a kgotla meeting this week, Molefhi said as such there is little interest by investors to come and invest in Botswana.
He said government is the main employer in the country while manufacturing industries are the ones generating income and without them, government would face a challenge even to pay civil servants.
He said as a result, the government has come up with incentives such as five percent income tax for investors coming to setup in Botswana.
He added that though he cannot disclose the progress government made so far regarding the BCL Mine, intentions are there to secure an investor to buy the mine and said the fact that some employees remained for care and maintenance, was to keep the mine in good condition for potential investors.
He said underground water drainage is crucial and would pose a serious danger if left unattended, hence the care and maintenance.
He added that the mine’s closure has not just affected employees, but also major parastatals such as Water Utilities Corporation and Botswana Power Corporation, who BCL was their major consumer and its absence adversely affected their business, leading them to approach government for funding.
On shortage of medicines and condoms in Selebi-Phikwe Molefhi explained that government has been procuring from contracted firms, which resulted in challenges where some failed to meet the demand and lack consistency on supply.
He said government has since decided to buy directly from manufacturers to ensure drug availability at all times.
He added that under the economic revitalisation programme to revive the economy, the government has taken upon itself to procure 30% of the products manufactured locally provided they are of
He noted that government is committed to supporting locally produced goods by closing borders to coerce consumers to buy locally before crossing the border.
He said as such, countries like South Africa are threatening to report Botswana to the World Trade Organisation for interfering with trade laws.
He also said that Parliament is rectifying legislations to tighten laws to control issues such as drug trafficking, human trafficking and incidents where prominent and influential people are used for money laundering.
Contrary to allegations that Ipelegeng programme would be phased out, the minister said government has no intentions of phasing it out.
However, it is currently reviewing the programme to see how it can generate permanent and sustainable jobs.
He explained the glass manufacturing plant was unsuccessful, hence the government took a decision that investors themselves should do everything on their own while government only comes in by ensuring a conducive climate for them.
He added that the anticipated College of Applied Arts and Technology could not be built in Selebi-Phikwe after it was realised that there was low enrolment in the already existing Vocational Training Centres.
The community of Botshabelo and Ikageleng had wanted to know when ex-BCL employees would be paid their dues and said that in light of soaring unemployment, people should be allowed to sell traditional beer.
One Godwin Samuel argued that there was no way drugs could be controlled in the country given the rate of unemployment.
“There are no jobs and the sale of drugs is the only means of survival for others. Government must allow them to earn a living out of drugs. If the rate of unemployment remains the same, Botswana would soon become a haven for drugs,” he said.