F/town civic leaders give SONA thumbs up

FRANCISTOWN: Francistown councillors believe that the State of Nation Address(SONA) was on point with specific reference to the city.

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) councillor for Phillip Matante West, Shadreck Nyeku, yesterday told Mmegi that President Ian Khama’s speech offers greater hope to the economic outlook of the city.

“ In the SONA, the President indicated that Francistown will be turned into a transport hub to benefit trade happening in countries in the northern part of Botswana.

“This is a welcome development because we have the Vision 2022, one of its main objectives is to turn Francistown into a major transport and logistics hub supporting trade mostly among countries in the north of the country.”

Nyeku added that should the development to turn Francistown into a transport and logistics hub come to pass, it would help to address unemployment.

As part of the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) government will also avail funding for the construction of bypass roads in the city. This is a welcome development according to special nominated councillor, James Kgalajwe.

“There is congestion in the city’s roads hence bypass roads will help improve the traffic situation. The subject regarding congested roads in the city has featured more often during council proceedings for many years,” Kgalajwe hinted.

Kgalajwe also said that using Francistown as a gateway to countries in the northern part of the country will help freight and logistics companies grow their business. The former mayor however, lamented that the government has a poor project implementation strategy, which may derail the prospects of the proposed transport hub.

“My hope is that the government will get its house in order and make sure that the initiatives are well coordinated,” said the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councillor. Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi is expected to coordinate the ESP project.

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) councillor, Ben Mpotokwane, said: “I anticipate that the government will inject more cash on infrastructure in order to establish a transport hub. The infrastructure will also boost the city in its bid to attract investors as part of the city’s Vision 2022,” he said.

Just like Kgalajwe, Mpotokwane said that his main worry is that government projects are never properly implemented.  Recently, Walvis Bay Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), John Smith, during his visit to Francistown indicated that the city has the potential to be turned into a transport and logistics hub to support trade in countries north of Botswana.

He urged Botswana freight and logistics companies to set up businesses in Francistown to support trade between countries in the north.

He said countries such as Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia use Francistown as a link for their trade activities.

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