BY PORTIA NKANI
It’s yet another miss for a draft of the country’s mineral policy after Parliament went for recess on Friday with no sign of it finding its way into the order paper. The parliamentary order paper dictates the precedence of bills, motions and any other business of the house discussed during a given sitting.
The mineral policy was first tabled before Parliament in 2017 but has not been debated since in all the past sessions including the just ended February sitting.
The policy aims to amongst others-maximize economic benefits to the nation while enabling private investors to earn competitive returns.
However, the Acting Minister of Minerals, Nonofo Molefhi told Parliament this week that, “due to lack of time, the draft was not debated by the House in 2017 and therefore would be tabled afresh at the next available opportunity.”
The Minister was responding to Member of Parliament for Nkange, Edwin Batshu who had wanted the Minister responsible to appraise Parliament on the progress in the development of the Minerals Policy for Botswana which seeks to maximize the national economic benefit from the country’s mineral resources.
The completed policy in addition aims to achieve; a competitive environment to stimulate private sector investment in minerals development; an improved linkages with the wider economy; generation of local employment opportunities and; sustainable minerals development that supports environmental conservation and protection.
Other benefits is increased opportunities for citizens to directly participate in mining, whether as contributors of capital, labour, goods or services, to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the maintenance of commercial conditions attractive to minerals investment.
It also seeks to diversification within the mineral sector; have a strategic and responsible management of geological and minerals-related information; creation of a conducive environment for women participation in the mineral sector; value addition and beneficiation and; strengthening of local capacity for participation in mineral development.