Sunday, May 9, 2021

BITC proposes business facilitation law to ease foreign investment drive

Morupule B coal and Palapye Glass projects are key strategic points which could deal Botswana a great measure of economic growth but are “not progressing well” as Ntlo ya Dikgosi cast doubts over the high spending of public funds on the controversial projects.

Botswana Investment and Trade Centre management reassured the traditional leaders Friday that the projects have the capacity to boost and sustain the country’s economy and the livelihood of Batswana, with positive results expected in the long run.

“We have on numerous occasions visited the projects but the projects are not progressing well. Throughout all the consultations and meetings we have always come with positive results,” BITC Director of Research Moemedi Mokgosi reassured addressing Ntlo ya Dikgosi.

Mokgosi indicated the country has an abundance of natural coal resources for exploitation for both local and foreign investors, pointing accusing fingers however to Botswana laws which are not supportive of foreign investment attraction.

“We have identified some foreign independent investors in the sector but our country’s laws are not supportive of foreign investors,” he lamented, citing some ministry’s Acts which are conflicting when it comes to foreign investment attraction.

Kgosi Thabo Maruje II of North East questioned the viability of the projects, considering the amount of money pumped to the projects which to date their functions and sustainability remain questionable.

While Morupule B coal will cost over P11 billion, its additional phase is expected to cost a further P8 billion with the project still a headache to the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Minerals and the Botswana Power Corporation owing to continuing sporadic power outages.

Fengyue Glass Project will consume an estimated P539m of public purse upon completion, with the project to date still on halt pending allegations of misconduct and corrupt practices. Both projects are riddled with allegations of misconduct and corruption, with some investigations still going on.

Mokgosi added: “BITC has proposed for a business facilitation law which has been passed to government for consideration with the view to promote and ease business operations in the country.”

Botswana’s image should shine both locally and abroad with conducive laws employed from amicable and corresponding procedures and laws. “We should operate from a single Botswana,” he concluded, referring to corresponding laws and procedures although from different government departments.

Kgosi Maruje II cast skepticisms to the country’s image both internally and abroad following a standoff over the projects which have been touted as the Botswana’s economic prosperity and breakthrough to decade’s long elusive diversification process.

Success of the projects will also attract more foreign investors and create employment especially amongst the vulnerable youths.

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