President Ian Khama has blamed the private sector for being quiet when he emphasizes the challenges posed by alcohol abuse. He said this when he was marking the official opening of the 10th National Business Conference at Tati River Lodge in Francistown.
“I should, at this point, also commend the private sector for its recent interest in the challenge posed by alcohol abuse. Your concern is somewhat belated but nonetheless welcome. One cannot help it but wonder why the private sector has been silent on this all along and only spoke when the introduction of the levy on alcohol was being considered,” he said.
However, the president also acknowledged the proposals to address alcohol abuse and assured the private sector that its submission is receiving attention. He further highlighted alcohol as a multifaceted challenge that has negative impact that hinders the efforts to build a better country.
“Alcohol abuse is a challenge which has been with us for quite some time. We have long been aware of its role in promoting the spread of HIV/Aids. We all are aware of its contribution to rising statistics of violent crime, including sexual assault, drunken driving and all other forms of anti social, risky and or criminal behaviour,” he stated.
He called on as imperative to conducting a large scale educational campaign to sensitize the population, especially the youth, of the ill effects of alcohol abuse and thus help those who need rehabilitation and to restore their dignity.
On “Setting the Agenda for Sustainable Economic Growth”, the theme for the National Business Conference, Khama referred to Botswana as a country that has favourable foreign assessment and which is among the best in developing African countries. He further pointed out that history is important for the future prospects of the economy, so as to ensure that economic growth, improvement of living standards, respect of environmental constraints remain strong so as to hand over a healthy economy to future generations.
“I am always keen to invite alternative opinion on the economy because I have always said that the government does not have monopoly on good ideas. That is why I invited some notable economists along with BOCCIM to a session with cabinet and senior officials recently and, again, later this month to give impression on our trade and monetary policies,” Khama said.