Botswana: Two Ministries On Cards

Mahalapye — Government is in the process of establishing two additional ministries.

Addressing a kgotla meeting in Mahalapye on July 5, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said the proposed development would see the splitting of ministries of Investment, Trade and Industry and Transport and Communications.

The development, he said, was geared towards fulfilling the aspirations of Vision 2036 and improve Ease of Doing business in Botswana.

Dr Masisi said the current Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry would be divided into two ministries, one of which would focus on investment and trade while the other fragment would focus on small businesses.

The new ministry of Small Business Enterprises would house all the consolidated government programmes, said Dr Masisi.

He said the changes were aimed at cultivating the culture of entrepreneurship among the locals, which was currently lacking.

Dr Masisi said business incubation programmes would be intensified and land acquisition process eased. Further, President Masisi said people must not be denied opportunities to utilise land in beneficial ways aimed at reviving the economy.

Consequently, Dr Masisi said all empowerment programmes that were aimed at providing the people with funding and technical know-how in running successful enterprises such as CEDA, LEA, YDF, LIMID including cooperatives would be reviewed, aligned to Vision 2036 and be housed under one ministry.

He said the move to group all the programmes would kick start during the current financial and be finalised by April 2020.

Further, President Masisi said the proposed changes would not be possible without the full involvement of the nationals.

He therefore appealed to the nation to note that government was only mandated to provide a working environment for any activity aimed at growing the economy and therefore it would be the responsibility of the people to engage, grow and diversify the economy.

"Open up your minds, engage one another, work together, use government mentorship and any other form of assistance availed to you by public servants to resuscitate the economy and create employment opportunities."

The president also appealed to those with the financial muscle to use their own funding and generate income, rather than depending on government assistance.

"Our core mandate as government is to provide mentorship and all the necessary ingredients towards establishing a conducive business environment, not funding.

We will only assist where necessary through programmes in place."

Regarding the Ministry of Transport and Communications split, President Masisi said there would be Ministry of Communications, which would be housed under the Office of the President.

Dr Masisi said the resuscitation of transport and communications ministry was necessitated by the critical role of infrastructure development, transportation and telecommunication networks in a working business environment.

President Masisi said the major focus of the proposed changes would be on encouraging the local communities to work hard and own all the initiatives aimed at growing the economy.

He said government on the other hand would carry out its mandate of providing a working environment by doing away with all stumbling blocks and bureaucratic procedures, and therefore the citizens on the other hand must be ready and willing to devote all the energy and drive the nation forward.

Even though government had programmes in place aimed at empowering and developing citizens into reputable entrepreneurs, Dr Masisi said there was little progress as government continued to spend more on sustaining livelihoods and importation of goods and services.

Therefore, President Masisii encouraged residents of Mahalapye and the nation at large to retrospect, engage on nation building and devote energy to reviving and diversifying the economy by developing the business sector.

President Masisi stated that the mid term review of the development plans had taken heed of the challenges at hand and changes that would be focused on aligning the development plans with Vision 2036 would be made.

"Our focus will be on achieving the vision.

My dream is to lead a productive and wealthy nation, and we must pride in productivity and self-sustenance in food production, not in hunger and poverty," Dr Masisi said.

With regards to his roadmap towards national prosperity, President Masisi said the nation had risen from a colonial era, to an independent state, fending for itself to sustain its people and the economy.

He further added that the discovery of diamonds gave the economy of the country some leverage.

Despite the significant growth of the economy driven by diamonds revenue, Dr Masisi was concerned by the continued downfall of the agriculture sector, which has been the mainstay of the economy since time immemorial.

On other issues of concern, Dr Masisi said the country was faced with, among others, a decline in performance of students at school, unemployment and drought. He added that HIV and AIDS as well as Tuberculosis remained major challenges to the economy.

"We invest a lot in programmes aimed at empowering citizens, beneficiaries fail to service their loans and even produce enough to sustain the demands of the market and grow," he said.

Dr Masisi noted that almost all the reputable and major business enterprises were not in the hands of locals, a clear indication that something was wrong and ought to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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