MMADINARE: Mmadinare is a fortunate constituency for being within SPEDU region since it would be easier to industrialise by capitalising on the government’s tax incentives to attract investors into the region.
Molebatsi Molebatsi, who recently won the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary primaries, said immediately after the elections, he went into talks with some investors who would want to set up and take advantage of the incentives.
He added that no serious investor would just overlook a five-year tax holiday opportunity at his disposal.
“The tax incentive is the biggest and lucrative issue that cannot elude any serious investor. Only if government can reduce the lengthy environmental impact assessment process then industrialising this region and creating jobs is achievable. Mining and manufacturing are solutions to the region’s economic challenges,” he said. He added that government must come in as an enabler and let others do the work. Further, he said that government has good ideas but there is a challenge of implementation capacity.
He also said the reason why investors prefer Botswana if accorded a conducive environment for doing business is that workers here are not so unionised that they can halt business for days on strikes as it happens in other countries.
‘My biggest drive is job creation to improve the livelihoods of people. The mine closure is normal, but there is need for the economy to be diversified. “I will start off by reviving the textile industry that used to be doing well then ensure that businesses are developed to also create jobs and enforce foreign direct investment by ensuring that major industries thrive,” he added.
Molebatsi emphasised that SPEDU is very relevant and it is the best initiative that government came up with because it is an enabler for business. He, however, said there is need for SPEDU to do more work to sensitise people to understand what it does.
It was Molebatsi’s first time to run in the parliamentary race and he has never contested for even a council seat before. He contested and lost the BDP treasurer position to Jagdish Shar. He was once in Botsalo Ntuane’s campaign team and served in different party structures as well as being pivotal in establishing the protocol unit that takes care of the party’s fraternal guests.
He also served in the party’s finance sub-committee.
Molebatsi said he intends to add value to the community that raised him to become a successful businessman.
He ventured into business in 2001 as a student at the University of Botswana and has vast experience in strategy, operations management, policy development and implementation that he acquired in the 20 years he worked for government and within the private sector.
His business interests are in the diverse industries of oil, gas, energy, mining, mineral processing, transport and logistics, ICT, retail and eco-tourism.
He has delivered some of the largest national projects and has established some of the most sustainable business operations around the country.
Currently he is a lead partner in a consortium that comprises minerals oil and gas services, a company that is owned by Public Investment Company and Royal Bafokeng Holdings in South Africa, Afritech Oil and Gas (Botswana) and Consolidated Oil and Gas Services in Mozambique.
This consortium, which is actively supported by governments of Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, is embarking on a project that seeks to turn Zimbabwe into a regional distribution centre for petroleum products in SADC. It entails refurbishing and bringing the already existing petroleum products infrastructure in Zimbabwe to commercial use to serve the SADC region. He is also managing a project to develop a fuel storage facility in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is currently developing a multi-product storage facility in Radisele that would serve both the private sector and government operations. He developed the concept for the Radisele fuel depot, developed a business case for the project, completed the environmental impact assessment and is currently negotiating an off-take agreement with government through Botswana Oil Company. The construction of the facility is planned to commence in the last quarter of this year.
“I believe that with available incentives in the SPEDU region, industrialising the region to create job opportunities should be a priority now. It is possible,” he said.