Botswana: Govt Nurtures SMEs

Shakawe — President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has assured Shakawe residents of government's commitment to grow and empower small businesses in Botswana as a way of improving livelihoods.

Speaking during a kgotla meeting in Shakawe on August 15, Dr Masisi noted that global economies thrived on small businesses which employed many people and also put food on the table for many families.

Therefore every effort was being made to ease operating small businesses by removing hindrances in policies and procedures, he said.

Dr Masisi said people would now be allowed to operate businesses from homes as long as they did it in a proper and acceptable manner.

Still in a bid to empower small entrepreneurs, President Masisi said next financial year a ministry of small business and enterprise development would be established.

The President encouraged entrepreneurs to explore foreign markets adding that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement that Botswana had signed allowed countries to sell and buy products from each other without any restrictions.

"We want to see the number of rich Batswana increase," said Dr Masisi.

Another move to empower Batswana, the President said, was to ensure that tourism businesses were dominated by locals adding that government wanted the industry to flourish in the hands of Batswana permanently.

He also told the Okavango populace that the 2014 hunting ban had been lifted and that controlled hunting would be allowed.

Dr Masisi said some areas and animals would be open for hunting while others would not.

On development in Okavango, Dr Masisi said government had solicited funds from China for the construction of the Nata-Maun and Sehitwa-Mohembo roads.

He said if things went according to plan, completion of the Nata-Maun Road would immediately be followed by construction of a completely new Sehithwa-Mohembo road.

The President said it would not be wise to have infrastructural developments in Shakawe such as the bridge then have a poor road leading to it.

He said construction of a water treatment plant in Shakawe was in line with other developments such as the hospital and revenue offices among others.

On another issue, Dr Masisi said contrary to circulating rumours that government wanted to abolish the Ipelegeng Programme, the number of people working in the scheme had been increased.

He also dismissed rumours that government intended to stop Old Age Pension saying instead government was currently contemplating when to increase it.

Meanwhile, Dr Masisi thas informed his audience that Parliament would be dissolved soon which meant there would no longer be any member of parliament until after the general elections.

He pleaded with all parties and prospective candidates to respect each other and also conduct themselves well during campaigns and on election day.

Source : BOPA

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