Friday, December 1, 2023

BCL closure woes force youth businesses to relocate from Phikwe

The Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Sports Development office in Selibe Phikwe is currently inundated with requests from the Youth Development Fund beneficiaries requesting to relocate their businesses out of  town due to lack of business.

The revelation was made by Selebi Phikwe town Mayor Molosiwa Molosiwa during a full council meeting last week.

“The office is experiencing an influx of beneficiaries requesting to relocate their businesses out of the township. Generally, youth businesses are not performing well, a factor which they attribute to the closure of BCL Mine,” he said.

The closure of BCL which was the backbone of the economy of Selibe Phikwe in 2016 led to over 5 000 job losses. BCL also owned Tati Nickel Mining Company(TNMC) which also closed causing a devastating blow to the economy of Francistown. Although there are over 3 000 retrenched employees still wandering in the mining town with the hope that the mine could be opened someday, government has maintained its stance that the mine will never be opened again and was working around the clock with SPEDU(Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit) to resuscitate the economy of Selibe Phikwe.

The mayor said during the current financial year, six new youth projects have since been funded under the Youth Development Fund to the tune of P596 825.70 and added that appraisal and adjudication is still ongoing in 27 applications.

He also added that the town council has come up with strategies in order to improve its service delivery in an endeavor to resuscitate the ailing economy. He said it is imperative for all residents of Selibe Phiwe to combine efforts towards execution of all plans in place for the revitalization of that town’s economy.

“This coming year we should see all men and women in this town doing away with the talking but instead actions should surplus whatever has been planned. As we are already aware of the economic situation of the town at the moment, most efforts if not all should be geared towards execution of all the plans in place for reviving the town’s economy,” he said.

Touching on some developments, Molosiwa said the town council is undertaking five Economic Stimulus Package(ESP) projects with their respective electrical works funded to the tune of P19 158 252.00 in the current financial year. He said the projects are at different stages of construction. He however said that for the 2018/2019 financial year, Selibe Phikwe Town Council has not yet been funded for the backlog eradication which is executed through the ESP programme.

“Instead the district has been funded to undertake maintenance of teachers’ houses. The project is estimated at P6 500 000,” he added.

Among other important issues he said the Constituency Community Development Programme (CCDP) has a stringent development that does not allow council to realize its mandate of infrastructure development and maintenance of facilities including sustenance of Ward Development Committees. He said only a few projects were awarded and some are still at adjudication stage. Molosiwa further said 70 percent of the projects have started and contractors are on site.

“However we have observed with concern that some contractors especially for civil works are not progressing well due to some challenges. Council is currently working on ways to control this situation,” he said.

On Ipelegeng the Mayor said under the current financial year, the quota was increased from 1 374 to 1 466 beneficiaries on monthly basis. To date he said, 14 292 beneficiaries have been engaged with 128 suppliers of snacks since April 2017. Molosiwa explained that 43 projects were implemented under this programme which included maintenance of public facilities, sweeping of roads and desilting of culverts. He said all projects are complete except for one in Ikageleng Ward.


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