Trade and Industry junior minister, Maxwell Motowane, shrugged-off accusations that Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) promotions are skewed towards agriculture┬áat the expense of other sectors.
He said┬áthat LEA┬árecently┬ácame up with a strategic plan focused on the agricultural sector┬áand aimed at┬ábolstering the contribution of┬á the sector towards the GDP but denied the┬á reports that┬á it has shunned other sectors.
“At┬á its┬á Strategic┬á Planning┬á of┬á 2010/2013, LEA┬á decided┬á to┬á focus┬á on┬á the┬á agriculture sector┬á during┬á this┬á period.┬á The┬á shift┬á towards┬á the┬á agriculture┬á sub-sectors┬á was┬á based┬á on┬á the realisation that the majority of┬á LEA clients┬á are in the agricultural sector; that agricultural raw┬á materials┬á are┬á easily┬á available;┬á and┬á the┬á advancement┬á of┬á government’s┬á effort┬á to┬á attain┬á food security,” he said.
He said┬á the impact of the global economic crisis┬á┬á affected┬á LEA’s┬á budgetary strength as it could not afford to build expertise in all sectors simultaneously, hence,┬á the need┬á to priorities sectors.
The chosen┬á sub-sectors┬á are:┬á Dairy,┬á Piggery,┬á Leather┬á and┬á Horticulture.
“However,┬á even┬á with┬á these sub-sectors,┬á the┬á other┬á sectors, such┬á as┬á tourism,┬á manufacturing┬á and┬á service┬á sectors┬á are┬á not┬á ignored,” he asserted, refuting suggestions of discrimination.
To ensure the success of their projects, Motowane┬á said : “All LEA┬á clients┬á are┬á screened┬á to determine┬á their┬á entrepreneurial┬á capability.”
It is only after┬á the┬á screening┬á that┬á an┬á assessment┬á is┬á made┬á whether┬á a┬á client┬á can┬á access┬á LEA┬á services┬á or┬á be┬á referred┬á to┬á independent┬á Business┬á Development Service (BDS), providers if they are interested in areas where LEA does not have the capacity to facilitate.
Established in 2004 by an Act of parliament, LEA promotes entrepreneurial skills amongst Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises in Botswana. It further provides business development service, training and mentoring through screening and facilitates business planning and management amongst others.
Motowane was┬áanswering a question from┬áBoteti south MP Slumber Tsogwane in parliament last week.