FRANCISTOWN: The Managing Director of Nortex Textile Mukesh Josh said that there is a serious shortfall of appropriate skills by locals in the textile industry.
Mukesh was speaking at the Nortex long service awards held recently at the Nortex premises in Francistown.
He said that as much as they subscribed to the value of citizen empowerment, lack of skills especially in specialised areas continued to be a problem among Batswana.
He said they had since been engaging the expatriates in those areas but ever since the amendment of labour law on locallisation, it is difficult to have those needed expertise to drive the production. “ Ever since the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs tightened its screws it is a tussle to get permit for these needed expatriates, we therefore appeal to the government to look into these issues with a view to wave where there is need” he said.
He further said that this law drives away potential investors who wish to invest in the country and a country without investors its economy is doomed. In response, Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu said that the private sector is the engine of growth and the textile industry, such as Nortex, is one of the alternative sources of economic growth. He said that the government is committed to providing a conducive environment for their growth. Batshu further said that no economy will strive without the expatriates as they always bring the host skills they do not have and irrespective of how fast they want to localise they cannot isolate from the international players in building the economy.
He said that it is good to blend local skills and expatriate skills. However, the law now states that if the skills needed are available locally, permits will not be given to foreigners to do the job. “It is not our intention to frustrate investors in our country, if they think that they are being dealt with harshly my door is always open to receive people,” he said.
Furthermore, he explained that the government continues to develop programmes aimed at providing skills to the nation, particularly the youth. He named the Internship, Tirelo Sechaba and the new Graduate Volunteer Scheme as government initiative to facilitate acquisition of skills to make participants employable, or be in a state where they can start their own businesses. He noted that the government remains concerned by the recent global competitiveness index report, which ranks the country badly when it comes to labour market efficiency, employee effectiveness and loyalty.
“ This is a bad factor for investors confidence and this country is where it is due to the massive contribution of foreign investors like Nortex,” said Batshu. He urged the private sector in Francistown to continue to strive for economic growth by employing Batswana and appreciated the efforts by Nortex to employ Batswana.