Government’s Economic Diversification Drive (EED) initiative has become hugely popular amongst local companies, as the value of goods and services procured from local companies by government has been steadily increasing over the years.
Since its inception, government has procured P16.89 billion worth of goods and services under the EDD program. Out of this figure, the value of goods and services procured from local manufacturers and service providers amounted to P590.5 million in 2010/2011; P1.886bln in 2011/2012 and P1.837bln, in 2012/2013. Government also purchased P2.328bln worth of goods and services from local companies through the EDD in 2013/2014, while the value slightly fell to P2.246bln in 2014/2015.
Speaking at the just ended Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) Global Expo Botswana (GEB), Minister of Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse said a total of 1495 enterprises have been registered under the EDD programme, out of which 1067 (82%) are classified as small, 147 as medium and 83 as large.
“Business owners should take advantage of the EDD initiative to benefit from government spending,” said Seretse.
He pointed out that the EDD initiative was designed as a paradigm shift, a game changer that would ensure that Botswana diversifies its economy.
“Through the EDD, government wants to stimulate local production and consumption by leveraging on its purchasing power to procure from locally based manufacturers and service providers,” said Seretse.
Through the EDD, he said, Botswana will achieve its aspirations of employment, wealth creation and economic diversification.
Touching on the global Expo, Seretse said the expo serves the role of facilitating and stimulating intra-regional and international trade between Botswana and other trading nations of the world. He noted that for a country to be a good player in the global arena there is need to pay particular attention to issues related to competitiveness and investment climate.
“Over the last two years, my Ministry was actively involved in the development of Botswana’s Doing Business Reform Roadmap and Action plan, which was done in collaboration with the World Bank. Implementation is on-going with concerted efforts from government,” said Seretse.
He added that the objective is to create an environment that will enable the private sector to grow faster and unimpeded, thereby creating jobs and also making the country internationally competitive.
“We believe the roadmap will propel Botswana to be an investment destination of choice that offers investors competitive return on investment,” said Seretse.
He stated that government is also committed to assisting people in exploring opportunities for investment in Botswana as well as establishing sustainable joint venture partnerships with local business entities for possible skills transfer.