Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) President Lekwalo Mosienyane has hailed the 2015/16 budget speech as a revolutionary one as it promotes citizen empowerment.
In an interview Mosienyane said that the 2015/16 budget proposal is encouraging to the private sector and was bound to stimulate growth.
In his speech Finance Minister Kenneth Mathambo revealed that the amended Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy makes it mandatory for sub-contracting of government funded projects to 100% citizen-owned companies. “It further stipulates that 30% of each ministry’s projects budget should be reserved for 100% citizen-owned companies to promote citizen empowerment,” said Mathambo in his speech.
Mosienyane said that this is inspiring and is what they have been advocating for in the past for government to deliberately empower its citizens.
In the past government registered its dissatisfaction on citizen-owned companies who failed to deliver on projects they have been given. But BOCCIM was quick to point out that it takes two to tango. “Government played a part on the failure of some citizen-owned companies not to deliver on projects on time because sometimes they were paid late to source materials and pay their employees,” said Mosienyane.
He also applauded government for making water and power one of its priorities in the 2015/16 development budget, noting that it is a critical component in the growth of business sector in the country.
According to Minister Mathambo, the largest share of development budget has been allocated to the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources at P3.32 billion or 25.7% of the budget. “This will allow government to continue to address the water and power issues facing the country by putting in place appropriate infrastructure,” he said.
Of recent Botswana has been hit by shortage of power and water which affected business negatively. Some of the projects to be funded include the North South Water Carrier, Molepolole and Kanye connection to North South Water Carrier, and Mahalapye and Palapye water network extension as well as Maun water and sanitation project.
Projects aimed at improving the power situation include Morupule A refurbishment, electrification of villages, North West Power transmission Grid, Rakola Power Substation and ZIZABONA regional power project, said Mathambo.
Regarding creating a favourable environment for Small, Medium and Macro Enterprises (SMMEs), Mathambo said that government is committed for its development. He cautioned that the success of the SMMEs will depend on their ability to deliver quality products to clients, delivery of goods and services on time and reasonable pricing of such goods and services.
In the past SMMEs have been criticised for being their own enemies by compromising the quality of their goods and failing to deliver them on time. He urged them to invest in innovation and skills development to ensure their long term sustainability.