Friday, September 18, 2020

Chinese, Indian donors top President’s housing appeal

The health of a country’s economy, they say, is measured by the status of roads.
 
Similarly, President Ian Khama’s Housing Appeal appears to be revealing exactly┬áin whose hands┬áthe wealth of Botswana is.
 
The President’s Housing Appeal has so far┬áattracted more┬ápledges from┬áthe Chinese and the Indian community-owned businesses┬áthan it has with indigenous Batswana.
 
The President’s Housing appeal has, to date,┬áseen a total of 453 houses pledged, with the Chinese and Indian companies accounting for least 375 houses. South African companies have pledged ten houses. The remaining 62 houses pledged came from various citizen donors.┬á
 
The President’s Housing appeal has, since its inception, raised fears that the Office of the President may be compromised as companies compete for the attention of the President. Others were of the opinion that the initiative competes with non-governmental organizations tasked with the social responsibility to house the needy but this was dismissed by the government.
 
The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has previously denied that the appeal was competing with NGOs. He told parliament at some stage that he was aware of instances where the appeal had taken on board previous efforts of others, thus enhancing overall efforts to mobilize resources to provide housing for those in need.
 
Still, there┬áis speculation┬áthat companies donating to the President’s Housing Appeal┬ámay be doing so with an expectation that they would, in future,┬áenjoy tax rebates┬áostensibly for their┬ácorporate social responsibility while the President himself stands to boost his popularity and score political mileage for being sympathetic to the poor.
 
Chinese companies that have so far pledged houses include Sinohydro (Botswana), which has been contracted for the expansion of the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
 
Some of the Chinese companies that have pledged donations include, CSCEC Botswana, Complant Botswana, Zhoggan Construction, China Jiansu, Daheng Group, China Railway Seventh Group, Zhengtai Group.
 
Indian-owned companies that have pledged houses are CA Sales & Distribution,  Motor Centre, Naledi Motors, Capital Motors, GIPS, Dianofirm Medical Laboratories and many more.

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