President Mokgweetsi Masisi yesterday delivered his sixth State of the Nation Address (SONA) and his very last before the coming 2024 General Election. Evidently, in his 84-page and 16,092-word speech, the President intends to fulfil his ‘promises’ before the coming election.
Masisi spent much of his speech reiterating his 'government plans and mega projects' that, according to him will be fulfilled before the general elections next year.
This year’s SONA concentrated on sustainable economic development; human and social development; sustainable environment as well as governance, peace, and security.
The President further shared his strategy on how he intends to improve the lives of Batswana, these investments, according to the President include the electrification of villages, provision of clean water, roads, schools, hospitals, sanitation infrastructure, and revival of the agricultural sector amongst others.
“The strategy prioritises mining, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, transport and logistics, trade, sport and creative Industry, financial, knowledge and technology, real estate and business services sectors. Their prioritisation is based on the potential for high economic growth, competitive advantage, job creation, as well as value chain development, and their positive spill-over effects on the overall economy,” he said.
The President in his SONA confirmed that the review of the minimum wage is complete.
“In the process of attaining decent work programmes, government has embarked on a social dialogue comprising collaboration with trade unions, the International Labour Organisation, and the employer. This entails the review of the Public Service Act, as well as the review and consolidation of the Employment Act, Trade Disputes Act, [and the] Trade Unions and Employers Organisations Act,” he said.
According to the President, it is anticipated that the review of all these legislations will be completed by the end of this financial year.
On digitisation, the President emphasised that digitalisation of the public sector is critical for service delivery in a knowledge-based economy.
“A total of 170 online services have been developed and are being rolled out to the public in a phased approach. The process commences with the onboarding of citizens by self-registration and walk-ins to selected government service centres. An additional 130 services are targeted for completion by September 2024,” the President told the nation.
Masisi further revealed that 15 youth-owned companies, at a total value of P60 million in 2022, and P100 million in 2023 were engaged for the projects. He further said P100 million has been set aside for 2024 for the development of e-services. Once this is in place the President said his government will implement the e-Health Strategy which aims to transform the health sector to be patient-centric, e-education, e-commerce technologies to provide opportunities in areas such as indigenous foods, indigenous herbs and cosmetics, basketry, systems and software development as well as the e-mobility programme.
On food security, the President said: “As part of developing value chains, government will facilitate the establishment of a horticulture market in collaboration with the private sector. The horticulture market will begin operations by April 2024. The market will enhance self-reliance, access, competitiveness and price stability, the result of which will be the promotion of wider citizen participation in the agro-business and associated value chains.”
In conclusion, the President implored Batswana to put the country first, “We must persevere in our journey ahead as we strive towards a more promising tomorrow. "Hand in hand, let us construct a resilient nation, one that exudes strength and prosperity, a nation we can wholeheartedly call home.”