Botswana government has been advised to ease immigration policies in a bid to attract foreign investors who are threatened by the ‘xenophobic’ bureaucratic regulations.
The call was made by South East South MP, Odirile Motlhale who is concerned the country cannot compete when the turnaround time to process visa takes a longer time compared to the developed world and competitors.
A similar situation exists in the validation of passports which takes 2 weeks of security check which most of the investors could not afford bear.
“I do not know whether to call xenophobia… but this immigration laws are a threat to investors many of who want to set business in Botswana,” said Motlhale, adding serious investors cannot wait 10 years for his VISA to be processed let alone two weeks for their passports.
“One wonders if investors are a security threat as to go such daunting long process,” he said.
Motlhale said ICT investors were eager to start business in Botswana including Batswana who are currently moved from pillar to post by the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board, citing one individual in his constituency.
“They could create websites and other related technology adventures to create employment,” he said, adding content generated by the government was not good for the country.
“These are not fairytales,” the legislator further noted, citing countries making progress in job creation through ICT. For the country to prosper into high heights it needs to call for a job summit, calling on all stakeholders including the unemployed.
Motlhale identified the recent Peace Child summit by the developed countries aimed at cushioning the glaring effects of unemployment in their respective countries. “The same should happen in here,” he said, calling for the children from grassroots level to be taught business driven education.
“They should be taught business confidence and skills from early stage,” Motlhale further said, insisting on business skills inclusion from school curriculum.
Even though the government is serious over the beneficiation process as indicated by the recent relocation of diamond trading centre to Gaborone, Motlhale is also adamant job creation for locals should be extended to other sectors outside the diamond sector.
“Textiles and agriculture sector could play an important role in the beneficiation process if efforts could be intensified,” he concluded.