Government has allayed fears that it plans to make foreign companies cede 51 percent of their shareholding to locals.
Bogolo Kenewendo, the minister of Investment, Trade and Industry on Wednesday said the new administration only wants the business community to support its endeavors.“We are not asking any company to give us shares but if you decide at your own volition, we support that,” said Kenewendo at the launch of Bokomo Full Mix Plant.
She said the current government wants to see big foreign companies act as an anchor to build the local producers’ capacity. Kenewendo reiterated that her government is open and is implementing a transformation agenda for economic activities to thrive. “We are looking at developing this economy with the private sector for the betterment of Batswana and those living in Botswana,” said Kenewendo adding that government remains open and hopeful for sustainable partnership with the private sector.
“We are continuously engaging so that we can assure the private sector of our commitment, collaboration makes us better,” said Kenewendo. She said the private sector should participate in government’s efforts to drive local producing capacity.Kenewendo applauded Bokomo for job creation and empowerment of locals, which has led to the company employing over 700 Batswana with a minimum of three expatriates in the past 14 years of operation in Botswana.
The minister said government and the private sector should align to one another’s objective. To continuously harmonise its relations with the private sector, government has initiated an after care programme to find their challenges and regulatory impediments.
In the retail space, government wants the sector to put forward a commitment of how they (retailers) can grow locals and develop SMMEs capacity. She said local SMMEs could only grow if the economy makes a deliberate decision to provide a market for the budding entrepreneurs.“We want to facilitate them to meet the standards that established companies have set,” said Kenewendo, adding that preference for local raw materials over imports will assist in the growth of local stakeholders.
Meanwhile Bokomo’s new Full Mix Plant is expected to improve efficiency and increase the company’s production capacity from one tonne per hour to one and half tonnes per hour. The over two million pula investment of the new full mix plant is part of Bokomo’s blueprint to grow the company. The company’s recent proposal with regulators for a sorghum milling plant has been approved.