We need beneficiation law - Makgalemele

Member of Parliament (MP) for Shoshong Philip Makgalemele wants the government to develop a beneficiation law for Botswana.

The legislator on Friday presented a motion, asking Parliament to request the government to develop such a law for the country. Makgalemele said a beneficiation law would provide a framework to transform the country's minerals and other resources to a national competitive advantage.  The beneficiation law would further enhance the quality and quantity of exports, diversification of the economy and to promote the creation of employment. He added that the development of a beneficiation law would help the country achieve the upstream and downstream linkages in the mining industry and other sectors of the economy.

"The beneficiation law can be a way of maximising the socio-economic benefits from the country's mining industry in terms of employment, economic growth, growth rate in other industries and socio-economic developments," he said.Makgalemele argued that the country has lost "immensely" because of the lack of a clear-cut policy or law on beneficiation.  In 2010 and 2011 respectively, Botswana exported a total of P27.7 billion and P31.5 billion worth of raw products without beneficiation. Makgalemele argued that, that was tantamount to exporting jobs.In debating the motion, MP for Kgatleng East, Isaac Mabiletsa, commended Makgalemele for bringing it to the House but said, even if developed, the law would have little chance of success because of a lack of political will. He said the debate about beneficiation, as well as citizen empowerment, is not new, as it has been going on in the House for as long as he could remember. "The lack of political will starts with the man at the top, the head of state, who even in Kgotla meetings does not engage challenging issues but only gives out blankets and shirts," Mabiletsa said.

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