Thursday, June 30, 2022

Chamber of mines backs citizen economic empowerment policy

Botswana Chamber of mines has backed government decision to empower more locals in the mining sector.

This comes after Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) recently told the media that companies contracted to Debswana will soon throw their employees into the streets due to non-renewal of contracts to allow for citizen owned companies.

Botswana Chamber of mines Director Dr Charles Siwawa told this Publication that the policy has continued to bear fruits, adding that this will draw more locals into the mining sector.

Siwawa highlighted that due to the policy, local participation has increased and hopes that the numbers will increase with time.

“The citizen economic empowerment has been in existence for quite some time now and I must say that we used to have locals providing services to mining companies but the problem was that they would do so but after sometime they decline,” he said.

Siwawa said although locals have been active in the mining sector their declining numbers prompted them to engage United Nations Development (UNDP) to assist them with a sustainable program to continue supplying the mining industry.

He cited the firestone diamond in Letlhakane as one of the mines that were bought by a local citizen.

“There are quite a good number of things that local citizens can supply within the mining sector and that counts as citizen economic empowerment and I must say that we have also opened our hands to assist where we can so that Batswana can utilize the mining sector,” said Siwawa.

He further said with the international markets starting to pick up and more local mines also cropping up there is need to ensure that locals are not left behind.

“We are seeing more mines coming up and that should be a sign enough that more Batswana will be empowered and we should take note that citizen empowerment does not only mean we should be able to see a Motswana owning a mine,”

“We have so many Batswana that have established their owns companies like manufacturing in order to supply these mining companies and that should be seen as another way of empowering citizens,” stated Siwawa.

Siwawa has previously said he has no doubt that the policy will produce the intended results, adding that citizen companies will be selected based on qualifications and experience.

“First and foremost, we should not drop efficiencies and productivity because those are the most important things. Giving unqualified people a share in the value chain will be unfortunate. There is need to ensure that these jobs are given to qualifying Batswana because they are there and create employment,” said Siwawa.

He further said the reason behind the policy is to have as many Batswana to do the outsourced jobs in order to create employment.

BMWU recently told the media that they are anticipating massive job losses at companies contracted to Debswana.

They stated that companies contracted to Debswana namely Komatsu, Barloworld and Kanu Equipment Botswana have issued notices that Debswana intends to terminate their contracts in June this year and as a result they will end up restructuring.

President’s Mokgweetsi Masisi’s ruling party came under fire from the opposition, with the ruling party accused of failing to include citizens in the mainstream economy after five decades of uninterrupted rule. Masisi conceded that the country’s economy was not in the hands of indigenous citizens and promised sweeping changes if his party is returned to power.

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