Saturday, November 28, 2020

Francistown Investment Company fails to take off the ground

Francistown City Council (FCC) has announced that the much hyped Francistown Investment Company which was established for the sole purpose of attracting investment into the second city has failed to take off due to budget constraints.

The revelation was brought to the fore by Francistown Mayoress, Sylvia Muzila during the first session of the full council meeting on Monday. Muzila confirmed that the council does not have funds to employ the necessary staff, including the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

“This has been the major constraint in making progress with our investment drive, there is neither an office nor an officer responsible for this objective and there are no funds to run activities. The decision needs all of us to create the conducive investment climate for this city,” she said.

She revealed that Investment Committee was attended by an officer from Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC), Lonely Mugara following their request to the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo to assist them with the investment drive.

“The BITC officer advised us that in order for the city to achieve its vision, there is need for capitalisation of the investment company, staffing, branding, planning, zoning, sales and marketing, project evaluation, policy advocacy and improving the investment climate,” the mayoress said. Muzila confirmed that much ground has been covered with regards to identifying and packaging some of the land for investments as part of the capitalisation of the Investment Company. She said that some of the land that they have identified include, the two CBD’s, one in Gerald, Block 1 and the second being plot Number 2531 which is the old Golf Course.

She commended the recent ground breaking ceremony of the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) projects in Gerald Estates location as a step in the positive direction.
“The bulk servicing of Gerald Block 1, is a project worth P19, 999, 182.21 which started its works on 14th March 2016 and the project is expected to be completed by the 13th of September 2016. The work entails pipe laying of 26 kilometres in length of various diametres. However, this land servicing does not include internal roads, water reticulation and plot connections,” she said.

“The aim of this component is to facilitate private sector to proceed with full servicing of the area through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Gerald Estates block one and two have an estimated number of P5, 947 plots for mixed use out of which the ongoing project will cover 3 632 residential plots” she added.

The mayoress revealed that an environment consultancy was also engaged by the Ministry of Lands and Housing on the 7th of March 2016 for the production of an Environmental Management Plan at a cost of P2, 737, 589.20. She further revealed that the ministry has appointed a Consulting Services at a cost of P4, 216,150.20 to supervise the project. Among some positive developments, Muzila said that the Minister of Lands and Housing, Prince Maele declared that his Ministry will fund the Gerald-Aerodrome link road.

“He indicated that we would be advised on the details of this project in due course. According to this minister this road together with Phase 4 industrial site in Somerset West have been funded through ESP and will be implemented between 2016/18 financial year,” she said.

On the proposed development for the Francistown Old Golf Course, Muzila said it is part of the package for their investment plan. She said they have organised a benchmarking exercise for the City of Tshwane in South Africa in order to kick start planning issues on the plot.

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