Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development, Moiseraela Goya has cast aspersions on the effectiveness of the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD), which was designed to benefit local companies and harness citizen economic empowerment. He cited a local company in his constituency that is manufacturing steel pipes but is not benefiting from the scheme. He further said he recently observed an on-going construction project along the Molepolole road, only to realize that the steel pipes were imported from China.
“Why should we purchase steel pipes from a Chinese company when we have a Palapye based company that manufactures steel pipes? I investigated the issue and found out that a local company produces the same steel pipes. I therefore have a problem with the assertion that EDD benefits local companies,” said Goya.
He was responding to a statement made by Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo when presenting the supplementary budget for the financial Year 2015/16. Matambo requested Parliament to approve an additional P192,000,000 for the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, through which the GRP pipes previously used in the North South Carrier (NSC I) water transfer scheme with steel pipes. The steel pipes will reduce the costly maintenance that has to be done frequently because the GRP pipe are prone to bursts, which leads to disruptions on water supplies to the greater Gaborone area. However, Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila disputed Goya’s allegation, saying government imported the steel pipes because locally manufactured steel pipes were not up to standard.
“Local companies were approached, but we noticed that they were producing sub-standard steel pipes. As government we try by all means to ensure that local companies are promoted through the EDD initiative over foreign companies,” Mokaila said.
Initiated to diversify the country’s economy, EDD aims to stimulate local production and consumption from small, medium to large enterprises, with government procuring from locally based manufacturers and service providers. Speaking at Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC)’s Global Expo recently, Minister of Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse expressed optimism that the EDD initiative will be very successful as the value of goods and services purchased from local companies by government has been steadily increasing over the years. Since inception, government has procured P16, 89 billion worth of goods and services under the EED programme. Out of this figure, the value of goods and services procured from local manufacturers and service providers amounted to P590, 5m in 201/2011, P1, 886bln in 2011/2012 and P1, 837bln in 2012/2013.