Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 16 April 2019 - Botswana Guardian
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 17:22

Engen records a profit in 2018

Engen, Botswana’s only listed petroleum company has made a profit of P127, 3 million for the year ended December 2018.

This is contrary to last week’s edition in which we stated it was a loss. While the group which is managed by Chimweta Monga has  made a profit, the results are 13 percent lower than the previous reporting period in which they made a profit of P147, 5 million. In a statement, the company stated that, poor performance of the mining sector which led to the closure of one copper mine, has led to a decline in consumption of energy products.

Mines remain one of the country’s biggest consumers of petroleum products, as such any fall in this off take affects the sector. Meanwhile, the company has announced that, its retail network remains its biggest critical hence more investments are being channeled towards expanding retail and convenience shops across the country. Engen is also diversifying its commercial channels sales.

More work is being done to improve the company’s efficiency. The group also recognizes shareholders support hence they will work hard to ensure post improved and sustainable financial results in future. Meanwhile, company directors have declared a dividend of 39, 867 thebe per share for the year under review.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 17:17

Turnstar profits to go up

Retail property developer, Turnstar holdings will see its financial performance go up by approximately 497 percent in the year ended January 2019.

Last year the group’s comprehensive income was P25.7 million and has now increased to P128 million this year. In a statement,Turnstar Board of Directors pointed out that due to several factors which will be disclosed by April 30th, the groups total comprehensive income for the year will be materially higher than that reported last year. “Shareholders and investors are advised to exercise caution when trading in the company’s securities until such a detailed announcement as to the results is made,”

In its half year ended July 2018, the group recorded a total comprehensive income of P108.3 million with a profit of P55 million. Commenting on the results the group Chairman Patrick Balopi explained that rental revenue and operational expenses remain at par with the previous half year.

“The increase in finance costs are due to interest on loans obtained for the expansion of properties, being capitalized for a part of the previous year,” he said.The company highlighted some factors which lead to low performance last year such as the delay in the completion of Game City mall and the trading licenses for foreign retail shops.

Turnstar Group Managing Director, Gulaam Abdoola said these issues delayed the leasing of the new wing of Game City.  “We could no longer hold the stores for the tenants who had signed preleases but could not obtain their trading licenses. We have leased these stores to other tenants and the new tenants needed a period of beneficial occupation before they started paying rent.,” said Abdoola.

Last year the company also purchased an office block in Dubai. In Tanzania the group experienced delay in the completion of the construction, resulting in the delay in leasing of the new developments.

Published in Business

Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), Vice Chancellor Professor Otlogetswe Totolo has challenged government to dismantle Botswana Meat Commission and other state owned monopolies and allow for competition.

He said the move will increase efficiency, productivity and enable technology transfer and skills. Citing BMC as an example, Professor Totolo, at the national competition symposium this week, said at its inception the parastatals’ monopoly on exports was justifiable.“It may have been justifiable because of the difficulty at the time, farmers faced in accessing external markets,” said the Professor. Some of the beef standards and quality requirements for accessing European Union (EU) markets include tough sanitary conditions.

Although Professor Totolo applauds BMC monopoly during its early years, the Vice Chancellor bemoans that the intended plans to adhere to standards has partially been achieved through the monopoly system. “But the downside is that supply has not been able to meet demand, even with the 18 196 quota. Yet, we do have players in the market who are able to meet requirements of these external markets,” said Professor Totolo. The BIUST Vice Chancellor believes government can strengthen its role as a regulator.

He said it is inevitable for some SOEs to be reconfigured, and in some cases close down, as they can no longer compete in the market, adding that such developments carry other social ills such as retrenchment or unemployment. 

Professor Totolo said monopoly breeds a lot of inefficiencies in production, service delivery and revenue collection, impacting negatively on the business and reducing social welfare.  In addition, he said monopoly entities face no competition from anyone else, leading to inefficiency. “In these instances, there is need, to carefully look at the service value chain with a view to introduce competition, raise efficiency and productivity,” said the Professor.

He highlighted that it would be wise to have different actors focused on production, distribution and revenue collection for better focus and specialisation of resources directed at a specific mandate to increase efficiency and productivity.

Professor Totolo also believes there is need for Competition Authority to introduce anti-blocking rules, anti-competitive mergers, harmonise accountability, competitive neutrality, transparency and consistent application rules of subsidy or state aid. Last year, Gantsi North legislator, Noah Salakae told this publication that the country’s meat industry value chain is ‘under siege’ due to export monopoly created through archaic Botswana Meat Commission Act (BMC) of 1965. Salakae said the Act is limiting full participation of farmers in the industry that holds potential to diversify the economy from being mineral resource dominated.

“The Act does not accommodate farmers. The whole thing (meat industry) is run by the minister. The minister issues export licenses periodically, why not have board of governors,” said Salakae, highlighting that the country’s meat industry remains uncompetitive due to government’s restrictive hand on exports.Salakae said the development has led to livestock rearing being a hobby than a business for most people.

Despite reiterated calls for opening up the BMC monopoly, the Commission’s management remains optimistic the parastatal can be restructured and start contributing positively to the national fiscal purse. “We are fully engaged in a diversification strategy to regain China, US through AGOA and Russia is another market,” said Brian Dioka, BMC spokesperson in an interview with Botswana Guardian last week.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 17:09

Business integration squeezes out SMMEs

As business integration and competition dialogue deepens on the local economy, divergent views are popping up on the issue. This comes at the backdrop of Competition Authority (CA)’s governing Act allowing both horizontal and vertical integration. However, some quarters of the business community fear that virtual integration is swallowing emerging and existing small micro medium enterprises (SMMEs) at the expense of creating efficiency and sustainable businesses.

The death of general dealers across the country is one of the examples that has been cited, as a negative outcome of integration, where most Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) have backward and forward integration within their system. For example, a retailer competes with general dealer entrepreneurs yet the established store also owns either a wholesale or manufacturing plants for certain brands.

The SMME community is pinning hope on policymakers to make a move on the seemingly anti-competitive practice in the economy. On the other hand, CA believes vertical integration is a business strategy that allows competitive prices, encourages innovation, improves quality and would give local products exposure to international markets, though aware of the negative that the approach carries. “Virtual integration has been studied by economist over the years and found to be somewhat a double edged sword,” said Enerst Bagopi, Manager, Investigations and Research Analysis

Bagopi says currently the law only prohibits resale price maintenance in any virtual integration arrangement. “Every business should have the prerogative to set own price, only a recommended resale price can be set,” said Bagopi who acknowledges that CA is aware that virtual integration can also promote foreclosure and margin squeeze.

Bagopi said though virtual business integration has both negative and positive effects, the local economy should find ways to embrace it. “Though virtual integration may be good for the economy; it may also be bad. It is here to stay and we need to work around how it can benefit us. “Therefore it is important for the economy to have strong structures in place in order to deal with business strategies of this nature and find how they can benefit the economy at large,” said Bagopi.

He said businesses are ever on the lookout for ways to minimise costs, ensure consistency quality of inputs and always doing the best to ensure that there is consistence of supply.“It is important to embrace these realities,” emphasized Bagope. Botswana Millers Association Chairperson, Nkosi Mwaba believes that though integration is a good business strategy, SMMEs should also be given an opportunity to survive and thrive on the local market. He said SMMEs play an important role on socio-economic development of the country. “SMMEs are very critical to our economy, but dominant businesses are not doing enough for the SMMEs, as an industry.  “We are empowering South African SMMEs than our own. Our strategies are not geared to support our own SMMEs,” bemoaned Mwaba.

He warned that the dominant forces have the money to integrate and squeeze out SMMEs, creating a lot of work opportunities but not opportunities for SMMEs to grow and perfect their craft,” said Mwaba. He reiterated that if the nation is looking for socio-economic development it cannot leave out SMMEs.

Economist Senye Obuseng at Speck Dynamics said making an informed decision on the impact of virtual integration on the local market needs much more empirical evidence. “We cannot come out and say it is good or bad, we need to understand what motivates companies to integrate. There may be gaps that require one to integrate either forward or backwards,” said Obuseng.

Obuseng further said if the country’s concern is SMME development, competition policy should not be burdened with the responsibility of achieving some of the fundamentals that the nation wants to deal with such as market failure.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 17:06

BITC leads trade mission to Qatar

Botswana Investment and Trade Center (BITC) is leading and investment and trade promotion mission in Doha, Qatar in efforts to position Botswana as a preferred investment destination globally. The mission is facilitated by the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry which has arranged for a high Level targeted business engagement with potential investors present in Qatar.

According to BITC Corporate Communication Director Kutlo Moagi, the mission aims to promote Botswana holistically to foster relations with a view to facilitate business and trade between Botswana and Qatar, both at public and private sector level. The delegation consists of representatives from institutions and private sector from various sectors including mining and diamond beneficiation, transport and logistics, energy, tourism, agriculture and health. 

“During the mission, Botswana business delegation will also have an opportunity to engage one on one with the Qatar counterparts and will undertake a few site visits to explore areas of collaboration or partnerships,” she said adding that Botswana delegation will establish what the various companies in Qatar require as prerequisites to consider investment in Botswana. The delegation will be back on April 12.

She pointed out that the mining sector is the key targeted sector for the mission but only two Batswana from the sector have travelled to Qatar. “There are two Batswana from the mining and diamond industry as one of the key targeted sector for the mission,” said Moagi.

The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Peggy Serame leads the delegation. Since its establishment, BITC has delivered a total of over P12 billion in capital investment with actual Foreign Direct Investment accounting for P 6.162 billion and Domestic Investment accounting for over 5.8 billion pula.

Unveiling the new strategy last year BITC Chief Executive, Keletsositse Olebile said BITC seeks to take investment promotion to the next level and propel Botswana into a renowned and globally acclaimed trade and investment destination.

Published in Business

Competition Authority has approved the 100 percent acquisition of Bank of India by First Capital Bank Limited (FCBL) assuring that the acquisition will not result in lessening of competition in the banking sector and that there will be no job losses.

FCBL, is a company incorporated in accordance with the Laws of Botswana. FCBL is controlled by First Capital Bank plc Malawi; Everglades Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Botswana; Premier Capital Ltd, Mauritius; Prime Bank Ltd, Kenya; and members of the Anadkat Family.
The authority stated that the analysis of the facts of the case have shown that there are no substantial competition concerns that will arise in the market for the provision of commercial banking services.

“The proposed transaction is not likely to result in substantial lessening of competition due to market characteristics such as countervailing power and effective remaining competition that exists in the market under consideration,” states the Authority led by Tebelelo Pule.

According to the Authority the merger will not result in the merged entity attaining any dominant position in the market under consideration.However, the Authority also indicated that the acquisition takes note of public interest concerns under section 59(2) (e) of the Competition Act as it is envisaged that upon implementation of the proposed transaction, all local employees shall be absorbed by the acquirer. 

Pule stated that taking the public interest concerns and pursuant to the provisions of section 60 of the Competition Act of Botswana, the Authority determined to approve the proposed acquisition of 100 percent issued and paid up ordinary shares of Bank of India by First Capital Bank Ltd on conditions that there shall be no retrenchments and all employees shall be transferred to First Capital Bank.

“However this approval does not override or negate any other mandatory statutory approvals or processes that any of the parties to this merger must comply with under the laws of Botswana” she said.FCBL is a commercial bank, providing deposits, loans to corporates, individuals and Small Medium Micro Enterprises [SMMEs]. It operates a total of four branches and five loan centres across Botswana, specifically in Francistown, Gaborone, Kanye, Mochudi, Mogoditshane and Palapye. FCBL has two subsidiaries: Diron Ridge (Pty) Ltd and Jetwig Enterprises (Pty) Ltd; both of which are not in operation.

Bank of India is a company incorporated in accordance with the Laws of Botswana and a subsidiary of Bank of India; currently has one branch in Gaborone. The bank services includes deposits, loans and advances to corporate and retail customers.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 16:23

Greedy MPs defend high perks

Members of Parliament have unanimously welcomed their massive salary adjustment effective April this year. Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Nonofo Molefhi this week presented under certificate of urgency the National Assembly (Salaries and Allowances) (Amendment) Bill of 2019.

He said this is because if the Bill is tabled through the normal course it would not be debated in the current Parliament sitting and would delay increase for MPs which is expected to effect this month. The Bill other than the adjustment also wants to delink the salaries of MPs from the Public Service Structure by 11 percent. The adjustment which excited legislators from the opposition and the ruling party means MPs are expected to now get P39 197 per month or P470 364 per annum. Currently MPs are earning P23, 786 per month.

The MPs expressed appreciation at this increase even though they said it is not enough when compared to other countries. The Speaker will get P600.00 sitting allowance every day on which he or she attends a meeting of Parliament or Committee of Parliament while MPs will get a sitting allowance of P450.00. Constituency allowance has been adjusted by 50 percent while Fixed (communication Allowance and Hospitality) has been adjusted by 10 percent.The President will get P89 588 per month (P1 075 056 annually); Vice President P78 586 (P943 032 annually); Speaker P60 416 (P724 992); Deputy Speaker P46 490 (P557 880); Minister P60 416 (P724 992); Assistant Minister P46 490 (P557 880); Government Whip P40 783 (P489 396); Opposition Whip P39 984 (P479 808) and Leader of Opposition P46 490 (P559 880).

MP for Boteti East Setlhomo Lelatisitswe said when he became MP in 2014 it was shown that they were lowly paid. He stated that as they travel the world on Parliament assignments it has proven that Botswana MPs are working on a voluntary basis.  He said they are happy about the increase especially that of the Speaker as this shows government is moving in the right direction in efforts to empower Parliament as an arm of government. He said constituency allowance increase will assist as some of their constituencies are vast and need a lot of resources. 

Mochudi West MP, Gilbert Mangole wished all MPs could be able to speak on the increase and speak with one voice. He said it is time MPs publicly speak about their salaries which he said are very low.  He expressed worry that the media will blow the increment out of proportion with the potential of making voters angry.  “I wish we could have a calibre of journalists who will state that we are not paid enough. Not what we will see in the newspapers’ headlines tomorrow.  “Not what we have currently where journalists are reactionary to public discomfort about our salaries. The press should demonstrate that we are not paid but we are always portrayed as vultures. 

“This is not enough but we appreciate the little that the minister is offering. Right now, a District Commissioner is being paid more than an MP but we do more work than them,” argued Mangole. Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng said as MPs they have to be brave when talking about their salaries. He said what they are currently getting as MPs is eroding the dignity of the country. “We do not have to be worried what our electorates will say. Even our entertainment allowances cannot even do what they are supposed to because the allowance is too small.

“We should have a political pay structure different from that of public servants. What kind of hierarchy is this? You are told you are the boss to the Permanent Secretary but you get paid less that your PS! “Where have we seen such thing where a boss gets paid less than their subordinates. When I arrived in this Parliament the president was paid less than Permanent Secretary to the President this is not right for our reputation”, charged Oloponeg who is also MP for Tonota. Liakat Kably, MP for Letlhakeng-Lephephe who also serves in the MPs Rights and Privileges (Staff Welfare) Committee said they have been troubling the minister about the Bill and are happy that it has finally reached the floor of Parliament

MPS 2017 SALARY INCREMENT
National Assembly (Salaries and Allowances) (Amendment) Bill of 2017 with the 4 percent increase brought an MP’s monthly salary to P23, 786 per month which is P285, 432, 20 every year. The President annually pocketed P907 595, 50; Vice President at the rate of P535 902, 10; a Minister P470 959, 80; Speaker P470 959, 80; Assistant Minister, Deputy Speaker and Leader of Opposition all at the rate of P397 085, 50; Government Whip P315 125, 20; Opposition Whip P302 888, 60 while MPs got P285 432, 20 per annum.
Constituency Allowances, were increased by 40 percent which is almost P3 000. A constituency such as Gaborone Central, which was getting P6 185, 15 is getting P8 659, 21 which annually comes to P103 910, 52. A constituency such as Okavango gets P10 628, 98 per month from P7 592, 13.

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 16:18

MP Majaga, BDP headed for showdown

Member of Parliament for Nata-Gweta Polson Majaga is being pushed against the wall by his party – Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). Majaga who dared to defy party convention, went against his party’s processes and even seemed to disrespect the party’s values when he tabled the motion calling for direct election of President in Parliament.

Although it received overwhelming support, there had been prior plans to kill the motion when Vice President Slumber Tsogwane tried to engage Majaga in a bid to dissuade him against going ahead with his plans. But now, indications are that Majaga’s hard work will all come to nought following this past weekend’s BDP National Council in Kang, which wants nothing to do with the ‘dangerous’ motion. This week BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi said there is no how the party would give such a dangerous motion the green light.

In fact, he said that Majaga himself conceded at the National Council in Kang to not having followed proper party processes and procedures and promised to “engage further with party leadership on the motion”. But in an interview this week Majaga told Botswana Guardian that the motion is for Batswana and not for ‘one man who stood at the National Council and expressed his discomfort about the motion’.  The outspoken legislator said the National Council was “not the right forum” to discuss a matter which has been dealt with by Parliament.

“I did agree to engage the leadership further on the matter. People have to understand that this issue is for Batswana and it is one of the issues they have long wanted to be attended to. “I humbled myself at the Council because I had to respect the leadership of the party but surprisingly people who were pushing for the motion to be discussed though I was not around, which is why when my whereabouts were questioned I stood up and went to the podium to explain. “I did not want to embarrass anyone, which is why I obliged for further consultation but that does not change what happened in Parliament,” said Majaga adding that MPs were not opposed to the motion.

He wondered why at the Council Vice President Tsogwane, Balopi and newly-appointed Central Committee additional member Tebelelo Seretse were also pushing for the motion to be subjected to further rigorous debate by the BDP. But Balopi told the media this week that it was “disorderly” to have the motion brought before Parliament without first being subjected to vigorous scrutiny by the party. He revealed that on numerous occasions the party through its Parliamentary Caucus tried to have the motion put on hold but failed because the majority wanted to have the motion proceeded with.

“The motion at first hand might be seen to be progressive because this is done in other countries. When you scrutinise it further you will find out that there would be a lot of changes that comes with it. “The motion has to be subjected to party process which is why after the National Council we would take it further to the National Congress. The motion was first taken to Parliament and we are saying this is not how we do things as the BDP. “The motion would not only affect the president but everything around the presidency. So, we have to understand the implications that come with it,” Balopi explained.

He stated that this could also affect other party members who would have thought would grow through party ranks to at one point become the president. He said the BDP is not saying the motion is bad but wants it to be debated thoroughly. Balopi said the motion would not only change the political landscape but that the Constitution would also have to be changed.

“This would be a huge process that would need referendum and change of landscape politically,” said Balopi adding that as the BDP they do not want Botswana to find herself in the position of Malawi which at one point voted a non-partisan president who immediately formed a party and polarised Parliament through appointment of ministers and those who wanted appointments joined the new party. “This is why we say as the BDP there is no way the matter should be first discussed in Parliament. All BDP MPs who stood and debated the motion are deployees of the BDP. 

“At times people misdirect themselves and say I have been voted by the people. Why don’t you contest as an independent candidate and be voted as such?  “So, when you use the BDP ticket, emblem and slogan then learn to respect its constitution, principles and its values and act accordingly.  As the BDP we are not going to accept that to happen that way,” Balopi stated.

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 16:13

Media Practitioners Repeal Bill defeated

Member of Parliament for Selibe Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse came down hard on government like a tonne of bricks on Monday when 20 MPs voted against his Media Practitioners (Repeal) Bill of 2018. Only 14 MPs supported the repeal Bill.   Government has for a long time refused to repeal the Act indicating that it is working on making some amendments to the Act.

Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Nonofo Molefhi told Parliament that the process they started in 2015 for the amendment to the existing law was to improve it to take into consideration some of the views from their engagement with private practitioners where they can create a self-regulatory arrangement.  The minister stated that at the end they will be able to create an apex organisation that would be the Media Ombudsman.

Responding to debates, Keorapetse stated that the challenge is “the moment you say that you are legislating on regulation that by itself is at odds with self-regulation”.  He said it does not matter that government currently has some journalists “in your pockets”or that some adverts are skewed towards certain papers as opposed to others - statutory regulation is an anathema of self-regulation. Neither does it matter, he said that government is “enticing some journalists with all sorts of things”, as long as statutory regulation exists, the media can never be said to be free. He said that publishers, media practitioners and the Law Society made it clear that they subscribe to a principle of self-regulation and do not want any state involvement in their work because they have mechanisms in place.

“They may be inadequate and need to be improved, but the thing is that legislation now is at odds with the principle of self-regulation, that is why they are saying, there is a need to repeal this law. “That is why they say in the first place, there was no need to have this law in place. So, even if you try and panel beat it, it does not take away the argument that they subscribed to self-regulation,” he said.But Molefhi responded that it is not a total overhaul, but a significant portion that has to be amended to incorporate the concerns which were previously raised by the private practitioners.

“During the period of 2014/2015 when we undertook consultations, the private practitioners were heavily involved in the re-orientation of what was going to become the Media Council Bill. That is the discussion that we want to conclude, and ultimately go through to Cabinet,” Molefhi said.

Keorapetse argued that self-regulation means that the reason why the media is called the Fourth Estate is that the presupposition is that there are three independent arms of Government being; Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary, and the fourth estate is the Media.  Now, this media is not supposed to be subservient to any institution, it must be independent and be self-regulatory, he said.

“Why not leave them to self-regulate? Already there is a Press Council, Editors Forum, and Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Botswana, why do you need the state now to start regulating the media?  “The media is called the fourth estate primarily because it must be independent. Not just independent in terms of independence, but it must also be seen to be independent.”  Keorapetse said it is their responsibility as Parliament to guarantee the freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions without being encumbered, and to also explicitly legislate on freedom of the media. “That will be enough, we do not have to come up with any law to attempt to regulate the media,” he posited.

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 16:10

Masisi in dreamland – Boko

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Advocate Duma Boko says the President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi’s transformational agenda is still a dream.On 1st April Dr. Masisi celebrated his first anniversary as head of state. The president has indicated in his maiden state of the nation address that he intends to transform the country’s economy from a resource to a knowledge-based one.

He also pointed out that as a matter of urgency his government would come up with ways of creating jobs, with the aim of reducing unemployment especially among young people.Boko told Botswana Guardian in an interview that there is no how the government of the day would achieve these key issues under the leadership of Dr. Masisi. He said there are no proper mechanisms put in place by the president to give assurance that he is walking the talk. 

According to Advocate Boko who is also Leader of Opposition in Parliament Botswana has under-achieved under the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). He argued that the country has not even achieved half of its set targets since independence.
He cited the recent performance of academic results of public schools where the top school stood at below 5 percent pass rate.“If we now institutionalise this underperformance and accept it, we will become a country of non-achievers. We could have done better. In the 80s when the discovery of diamonds was established, we could have invested in infrastructure especially roads.

“If we did that, we could be a transport and logistics hub in southern Africa. We are the most fortunate landlocked country because we are in the central. So, we need to position Botswana both as a haven and a gateway. “We become a haven so that those who flee violations of human rights should come here and assist Batswana in the development of this country. “We should be a gateway into Zimbabwe, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and the rest of the region”.He said if one looks at it that way one will realise that Botswana is sitting at a radius of 1.5 million potential customers. He posited that the region offers over 200 million customers adding that the country is strategically positioned.

Advocate Boko pointed out that visitors to Botswana are estimated at 2.5 million every year and about 90 percent come by road. “We have 90 percent of 2.5 million by road, what if our roads were even better? “We need to invest in road networks that are world class,” said the Leader of Opposition. He explained that when his party talks about creation of 100 000 jobs in 12 months and establishing a P3000 minimum wage President Dr. Masisi and his government together with their friends get offended. He argued that government should not be banished from involvement in the arena of production as the government of the day suggests.

Boko believes that government should be involved in some creative and innovative partnership with businesses so as to harness and take advantage of what businesses present. The government can deploy public resources for the empowerment of its citizen and underwrite their active participation in the economy. He accused Dr. Masisi of talking about having citizens owning the economy while there is nothing to show as to how that would happen. “What is the president talking about? Who is he talking to when he says the economy should be in the hands of the citizens. He has not identified his target, which Batswana to own what? When you say all these things you should give us something practical.

“As the UDC we are saying if the government needs to issue bonds to underwrite businesses in which Batswana participate and have an equity stake, then government should do that. We are not talking rhetoric because time for talking aspirations has passed.
“Today job seeking has also turned into a job because you need money and you have to travel around until you give up. We are now estimated to be sitting at around 35 percent of unemployment. If we use our conservative estimate that 30 percent of our population is unemployed and 70 percent of that are the youth, majority of which have tertiary qualifications, then we are sitting on a time ticking bomb.

“So, what we are saying is do not just say you will create jobs as our president is always saying. Tell them something tangible and give them something that they can hang on to and reveal how many jobs you intend to create in how long,” he said.
Recently Masisi revealed that government would create between 1000 and 2000 jobs for the youth in the Information Communication Technology. He said this would happen when internet is being connected to homes and businesses. He said he would not make a target of how many jobs would be created in how many months or years, citing the UDC job target as an unrealistic joke.

Advocate Boko believes the 100 000 jobs is a modest and achievable number. He argued that the 100 000 jobs creation does not talk about only formal employment. It also according to him means allowing the informal sector to grow by removing unnecessary regulatory barriers to make doing business easy adding that this would be inclusive as everyone would be participating in the realisation of creating 100 000 jobs.“Your President is busy talking about a knowledge-based economy. What knowledge is he talking about? Where are we in the knowledge scale and who are we competing with?

“The problem is even our financial system is configured to exclude new knowledge, exclude experimental and exclude research and development. This means this government does not like start-ups,” argued Boko adding that there is disconnect between industry and academia, which is a bridge that needs to be closed.

The closing of this gap according to the opposition leader will ensure that research centres and universities become centers of generational knowledge, which knowledge would be converted into products that respond to specific challenges. He said that as things stand there is no prospect of achievement by Dr. Masisi, saying the president should just wait for elections this year where he would be removed by the ballot and the UDC will take over power.

Published in News
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