President of Alliance for Progressives Ndaba Gaolathe has outlined his party’s vision regarding a New Botswana when addressing a rally at Gaborone Main Mall on Wednesday evening. Gaolathe an economist by profession said that AP’s vision is to ensure that the lives of Batswana are transformed by lifting their material conditions. To achieve that, he said that they will build inclusive institutions and an economy that generates high paying jobs for the majority of Batswana. “In this way the people of Botswana live in a country that cherishes their talent and offers them the opportunity to realise their economic and social potential,” he told the multitudes of people gathered for the rally.
According to Statistics Botswana’s 2015/16 Botswana Multi Topic Household Survey 16.3% people in Botswana live below poverty datum line and Gaolathe promised that they will shrink unemployment from 20% to less than 10%.
To achieve that, AP leader revealed that they will double the economy, attract at least P100 billion investments to the country and drive non-mineral exports to at least 40% of GDP. To achieve a sustainable economy, Gaolathe said that they will diversify and integrated economy which will be in the hands of Batswana and be able to create full employment in the next six years thus guaranteeing a better life for all. “The contribution of Small, Micro to Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be raised to above 60% in the same period, which will significantly protect the country’s balance of payment against the current over dependency on its neighbours,” he elaborated.
According to Gaolathe if the economy of Botswana is well run it should be able to create surplus employment and business opportunities for Batswana and overflowing to the SADC region.
To achieve that, Gaolathe said that AP suitably qualified graduates will be recruited to fill vacant posts in public service to improve service delivery in education, health services and other government departments. “Maintenance of government infrastructures across the country also offers low hanging fruits to create employment,” as he explained they will achieve their aspirations.
One of the areas that have been lacking in Botswana is capacity building for Batswana in emerging business opportunities and employment. To address that, Ndaba said responsible businesses will commit to sustained capacity building for Batswana giving them preference in emerging employment and business opportunities.
He said an empowerment programme will be established to leverage the skills and experience of those who have worked for more than 15 years to allow them to retire early and be supported to venture into business.
“The transition will enable the beneficiaries to create wealth for their families and will create employment and growth opportunities for youth,” he explained. To help the youth who are mostly affected by employment, Gaolathe said that the AP led government will establish industry led training and skill development bridging programme which will help them align with emerging opportunities in different value chains.
Individuals voted out of power are not enemies Gaolathe assured the public that individuals voted out of power are not enemies but Batswana and should be encouraged and supported where necessary to go into business to invest their money thus helping in creating more jobs for the nation.
Botswana economic fortunes were turned around by the discovery of diamonds 50 years and this became the corner stone of development in the country. Gaolathe articulated that once they are voted into power; mining shall be used as catalyst to the country’s socio economic development by enabling other value chains and enabling SMMEs to also benefit as suppliers and service providers.
The current government according to Gaolathe made a monumental mistake by declining to have a stake in the flagship Karowe mine and rejected the offer to buy the 45% stake in De Beers from the Oppenheimer family.
He said Botswana need a faithful partner, who will help to mine and deplete its natural diamond resources and continue to walk together into the future of the diamond industry.
“AP government shall formally engage all the partners to improve the deal for Batswana by acquiring stake for Botswana government in all mining operations where none is already held,” In line with the laws of Botswana, Gaolathe said that a firm commit shall be made by mining houses to integrate the mining operations with the rest of the economy to ensure that the industry create employment and business opportunities for citizen owned SMMEs and other value chains.