Gaborone — Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Mr Eric Molale says Botswana has policies and structures in place to ensure that no one is left behind in the development process.
Speaking at the international conference organised by the government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the heading: Leave No One Behind: The Fight Against Poverty, Exclusion and Inequality,
Mr Molale said the country has pursued an inclusive development regime.
On Wednesday, Mr Molale told the conference in Gaborone that since independence the country's resources had been harnessed for the benefit of all.
"At independence a decision was taken that all natural resources, that is the diamonds, copper, coal, the wildlife and others belong to all in the country and are thus vested in the state, so that any returns from these are shared equally among all," he said.
The wealth generated from exploiting these resources had been utilised for national development, and improving the living conditions of the people, Mr Molale said.
"We have been able to use the revenue generated from our resources to implement free education and health services as well as social safety nets, which include destitute grants, old age pensions, school feeding programme, disability grants among others. Free access to land for residential and agricultural use through the tribal land, which is one of our tenures of land use, also assists in empowerment," he said.
Further, the minister added that through tax exemption and zero rating of basic food items from Value Added Tax (VAT) as well as subsidies on key commodities such as petroleum, water and electricity, Botswana cushions the economically vulnerable.
Also, Mr Molale said the consultative governance pursued by the country has ensured that people from local level are involved in the development process.
"The country's development process involves ordinary citizens who are elected at local level to Village Development Committees and the officers serving communities from Village Extension Teams.
Local chiefs become ex-officio members of District Development Teams representing their communities.
These structures are involved in drawing a District Development Plan, which is approved by the district council made up of elected local authorities," he said.
The over arching programme, the National Development Plan is approved by public representatives in Parliament, the minister added.
Mr Molale admitted that while the country has set up such policies and structures to ensure inclusion, challenges existed such as bureaucracy, Botswana being a vast sparsely populated country as well as the emergence of a dependency syndrome and low productivity.
Source : BOPA