Government’s Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) is bearing fruit after generating about 18 790 jobs since its launch in 2015, a government official has said.
Although the programme has attracted bouts of criticism,Vice President Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi says to date over 300 citizen companies have been awarded tenders for the ESP projects with a total of 18 790 directly employed as at the end of January 2017. “Our expectation is that more will be employed in this coming financial year,” said the optimistic Masisi last week while officially opening the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) 2nd Listing Conference.
The Botswana government launched the ESP in 2015 to cover the backlog of government projects that were affected by the economic recession. Since the worldwide economic slowdown of 2008, Botswana’s economy has experienced slower growth and uncertainty.
To address this challenge government put in place both austerity measures and mitigation interventions to cushion the effects of continued global market volatility. Hence the introduction of the ESP.Through the programme, projects that were deferred during the recession will be brought forward and added to projects that are being implemented this financial year.
Five areas have been identified in building construction and road construction, tourism development, agriculture production and manufacturing.Meanwhile Masisi said due to the weak recovery of the global commodity prices, this have in turn put pressure on government strategic business sectors.
He said the depressed global commodity prices have led to the liquidation of BCL and Tati Nickel Mines as well as the closure of many mining companies leaving many people jobless.This also has adversely affected the country’s economy and the economies near those mines.
Masisi however said all hope is not lost as there are prospective investors that have shown keen interest in the BCL Mine. “There are also three mines that are due to start operations during 2017,” revealed the VP.
Masisi said the golden old days are slowly coming back as the world has witnessed an upsurge of diamond sales during the last two quarters.