Thursday, July 18, 2024

Mining companies praised for citizen empowerment

The Government has commended various mining companies for their Citizen Economic Empowerment Programmes whose objectives include achieving diversity, inclusivity and sustainability. The Minister of Trade and Industry Mmusi Kgafela has expressed satisfaction at some mining companies which include Lucara, Morupule and Debswana Mining Company for taking the lead in the CEEP.

Kgafela stated that Debswana has set aside P20 billion to be spent towards citizen owned companies by 2024 which is an ambitious initiative that is expected to create 20 000 jobs. He added that under this ambitious undertaking, Debswana will localise manufacturing of its production inputs and grow Botswana’s manufacturing base, a commitment that no other company has ever made.

“I have been informed that Botswana Power Corporation has always taken the lead in developing local energy entrepreneurship and has to date awarded tenders amounting to billions of Pula to local companies,” said Kgafela.

He also applauded Morupule for also setting up a robust CEEP Programme, key to which is the community impact, citizen manufacturing, inclusive financing and capacitation of previously non-participating groups. He spoke of Lucara Botswana’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme which he said continues to make great strides in the Boteti Region and across the country.

Kgafela said Lucara invests in sustainable, community-driven projects and initiatives that advance its commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its procurement value chain, as well as several social impact projects that are aimed at ensuring that communities benefit from sustainable projects.

“With some of the Debswana, BPC, Morupule and Lucara Citizen Economic Empowerment Programmes (CEEP) beneficiaries here in attendance, I challenge you to share the value,” he said. He observed that, significantly so, the partnership was forged with commercial banks and CEEP programmes, to ensure that SMEs that supply under CEEP have access to finance, mentoring and business development from these commercial banks (and development partners such as the Supplier Development Programme under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

He is of the view that increasing spending with diversified suppliers creates value and shows that the company is serious on socio-economic commitments to its broader ecosystem. He added that companies need to expand their monitoring systems, which range from the limited expenditure monitoring to measuring impact of such an expenditure.

“The Reset and Reclaim Agenda envisions a Botswana that is effective with proper working infrastructure and systems; with a citizenry that has globally competitive skills and attractive to international investors and experts,” said Kgafela. He is of the view that inclusivity has been the core of government programming since inception and added that government has introduced several initiatives and policies aimed at promoting socio-economic inclusivity and to also empower the vulnerable, who often times are excluded in the economic value chain. He encouraged the companies to continue sourcing from the local service providers and manufactures and partner with government to help grow these businesses in terms of productive capacity, quality and consistency of supply.

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