The immigration system in the country must be made further favourable for investment by foreigners, said Nick Van Rensburg, Executive director ABCON.
Rensburg said the immigration system is making it thorny for an investor to do business in Botswana.
“They are not issuing out or renewing permits; it’s either you are on appeal or you have been given a waiver to use temporarily, which is not good for an investor,” said Van Rensburg. “We are here to bring money, create employment in Botswana and not take the money back to our countries,” he said.
Rensburg bemoaned the immigration system saying there are a number of foreign investors who have established businesses for a period of over 20 -40 years and have no valid permits using waivers. He said the situation is even worse for investors who have spent most of their lives here if their applications are turned down.
“If your appeal is turned down, you are given 30 days to wrap up your business and leave the country, which is not practical because the time is not enough,” he said.
Van Rensburg added that, for an investor, the process is frustrating.
“This does not reflect well on a country that is looking for foreign direct investment; it shuns away investors; we don’t understand if this means the country does not see the need for foreign investors.”
He said all sorts of explanations have been said but now they are appealing to responsible officers to explain why permits are not being issued out.
“In 1993, a request was made for a one stop shop immigration service in the country; it’s been 19 years now, nothing has materialized,” he said.
Rensburg said the prevailing environment in the country is not investor friendly and needs to be looked into.