The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dorcus Makgato-Malesu, is on a serious drive to change the prevailing business environment to allow for development of sustainable industries and trade.
“The current laws, policies and strategies have to transform to promote a vibrant economy with sustainable industry,” said Malesu.
Through this drive, Malesu aims at creating competitive industries, economic diversification, employment creation, citizen economic empowerment, entrepreneurship development and, ultimately, poverty eradication.
To achieve her vision, Malesu urged the private sector to align business strategies and procurement patterns to government policies, such as economic diversication drive. She appealed to all the companies that have their head offices abroad to decentralize procurement functions to branches based in Botswana.
She revealed that a number of laws, which include cooperative societies amendment act, the gambling act and consumer’s protection act are currently under review. The cooperatives development strategy is near completion.
“Cooperatives have to transform themselves and compete just like any other industry,” said Malesu.
On improving the country’s competitiveness, Malesu said the government is currently working on an integrated drive that would see government become more efficient.
“We want to be able to allow the private sector to do that which government used to do, thus foster diversification. We are currently working on legislature that would see an ease in doing business across all the government ministries,” she said.
Malesu said Botswana is doing very well within the African context being amongst the top four economies, once you contextualize it you will realise that Botswana’s not as bad as it’s portrayed.
Meanwhile, members of the business community who attended the Business Pitso, called on government to practice and implement the EDD for its intended purpose. The Economic Diversification Drive, EDD, is aimed at accelerating growth in the local economy through improvement of local productive capacity.
An official from G4 Consulting Engineers, Botsile Gubago, complained that the government continues to award jobs to briefcase businesses instead of local business.
However, Malesu, pleaded with the business community to stop criticizing the Economic Diversification Drive saying the concept was new and it is possible that it will have teething problems. She revealed that some of the problems are related to tendering. Malesu added that they have so far adjudicated in three cases where tenders were awarded without following EDD guidelines.