Francistown City Council (FCC) has resolved to capitalize the struggling Francistown Investment Company at P1 million for it to commence operations. This follows an announcement by Francistown Mayor Sylvia Muzila last week during the first day of the full council meeting that the company was failing to take off due to budget constraints.
Muzila had raised concern that the City Council does not have funds to employ the company’s Chief Executive Officer and the necessary staff.
She said there was also no money to pay for the company’s operations.
She said this has been a major constraint in making progress with the investment drive. She also said that there is neither an office nor an officer responsible for this objective and there are no funds to run activities.
The Francistown Investment Company was established in 2014 in an endeavor to speed up developments and also help lure investors into the second city. The initiative is in line with Francistown City Council vision 2022 of transforming the city into an economic hub. Francistown is currently faced with economic challenges.
In the recent past the city has had to contend with a closure of some mines close by that had been contributing significantly to the economy of the city.
“Our finance committee will facilitate this fund as per our agreement with councilors so that the company can commence its operations in the near future,” she said.
Muzila also emphasized that much progress has been made in luring investors to set businesses in Francistown as there has already been land set aside.
She emphasized that much has been done in terms of identifying and packaging some of the land for investment as part of the capitalization of the Investment Company.
On a different note she lamented the rise of church squatters around the city. She said that there is need for councilors to speak to their communities about the problems caused by church squatters.
“I want to plead with you councilors to speak to your communities against the rise of church squatters in Francistown. Tell them it is illegal to squatter as it is not allowed by the law,” she said.
For his part, the City Clerk, Lebuile Israel also expressed concern over an influx of illegal traders especially from Zambia into Francistown. He said most of these traders connive with citizens to transport their goods into Botswana and to engage in the illegal trade.
“Our bye-law officers are working day and night to avert this problem but it is becoming worrisome. Most of these illegal Zambian traders are flooding Francistwon and mostly they sell groundnuts, beans and Chitenge(African printed cloths). Some of these traders use citizens to front for them in these illegal trade,” he said.
Israel also implored councilors to speak to their communities against this illegal trade by foreigners.