FRANCISTOWN: The City Council here (FCC) is intensifying efforts to avail land to the private sector to boost the second city’s ailing economy.
The announcement was made by Mayor Godisang Radisigo during a full council meeting last week. He said the city council is outsourcing 11 of its industrial plots located in Dumela Industrial Site.
“Seven plots were advertised to business operators on a lease period of 25 years. After advertising several times, only one plot was awarded at a monthly ground rental of P3 133.33 and a contract is yet to be signed. I therefore urge you to sensitize the business community to take advantage of this land to set up their businesses and help diversify the economy of the city and also create employment,” he said.
He said the remaining six plots will be re-advertised in the first quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year. Radisigo said as the second city, Francistown needs to showcase capacity to generate an export led growth through promotion of competitiveness in local businesses and acceleration of economic diversification and foreign direct investment. He said one way to facilitate such is to provide land which is a critical factor of production.
As part of availing land to the private sector, he said the city council has also leased its old unutilized Tati town primary school. The property was awarded to a contractor for the development of a private primary school, Hospitality College and a boutique hotel. He revealed that the contract was signed on the 26th of July 2019.
Radigo said the contractor was awarded a grace period of 18 months from July 2019 which was interrupted by two months of plot resurveying and beacon confirmation. He said the contractor is in the process of registering the plot lease for project financing and security.
“The developer has since indicated that staff recruitment will be done by 1st July 2021 whereas first enrolment into the school will be on January 2022,” the mayor said.
He also said that the city council has leased plot 16178 and 16184 located in the city centre (Nswazwi mall) for the development and operation of multilevel parking on a lease period of 25 years.
He said the contractor was awarded a grace period of 18 months from July 2019 which was also interrupted by 2 months of resurveying and beacon confirmation. He said the grace period will be extended up to the end of March 2021. Radisigo said the company is currently at the stage of registering a lease with the Department of Deeds registry.
“They requested for confirmation of registration of lease and council provided confirmation through a letter dated 25th February 2021 to Deeds Registry following their request,” he added.
The mayor also said FCC has awarded a contract for refurbishment and development of the central market in Francistown. The contract was awarded on the 10th of July 2020 and council has intentions to come with two types of leases which are for plot development and for operations to ensure smooth implementation of the project. He said the draft lease agreement is currently being finalized. Radisigo added that the city council is also on the process of developing their Mummies plot which will also be contracted to the private sector.
“Contract for the development and operation of the facility was signed on the 26th of July 2019. The contractor intends to develop the facility into a commercial; art and craft centre, amusement park and an indoor entertainment arena. The contractor was awarded a grace period of 18 months from July 2019 which was interrupted by three months of plot resurveying and beacon confirmation therefore extended to April 2021,” he said.
Radisigo said the contractor is undertaking registration of the lease which is a crucial milestone for project financing and securities. He said the developer is at design phase with construction expected within this financial year. He explained that the designs submitted to the contractor warranted revising of the scope as it departed from the contract and tender documents. Radisigo added that the developer is yet to submit drawings that reckons with the contract.