Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Non mining sector “saved” Botswana from recession ÔÇô Matambo

Finance and Economic Development Minister Kenneth Matambo has said that there are signs that economic diversification occurred during the just ended National Development Plan 10 period. 

Matambo, who was presenting the Draft National Development Plan 11 in Parliament on Wednesday, said that the non mining sectors of Trade, Hotels and Restaurants as well as Banks, Insurance and Business played a major role in driving the growth of the domestic economy. 

Official statistics shows that the non mining sector grew by 5.6 percent per annum on average while the mining sector contracted by an average of 3.4 percent per annum during the entire planning period. 

“The increased contribution of non mining sectors saved the economy from experiencing full blown recession. This underscores the significance of continued vigorous efforts to diversify the economy and support of the non mining sector”, Matambo said. 

He further emphasised that the review of NDP 10 clearly shows that the domestic economy is still highly dependent on minerals and customs and excise revenues, while the overall economy remains relatively undiversified. 

 Matambo stated that NDP 11, like its predecessors, will put more emphasis on diversification efforts to create employment opportunities, reduce income inequalities and poverty. 

“The private sector and other development partners will have to play a major role in these efforts. Government on the other hand, will spare no efforts in ensuring the continued existence of a facilitative policy environment,” said Matambo.

Recently, the Mauritius Business Community leader, James Jessamine advised Botswana to adopt a flexible and pragmatic development path and approach in its quest to boost and diversify its economy. Mauritius is one of the best performing economies in Africa and has over the years managed to diversify its economy making it a success story.

Addressing the recent 14th Biennial National Business Conference in Francistown, Jessamine said that there is need for mindset change in Botswana adding that the country could learn from Mauritius which has also made strides in Public Private Partnerships (PPP). 

“Just like Botswana, Mauritius at independence in 1968 we did not have anything and we were solely dependent on a single commodity which is sugar. The colonialists at the time were hopeless about Mauritius and could not see much economic prospects. There was then a shift in mindset to come up with development strategies to enhance the economy,” he said.

Parliament will this week kick start debate on Matambo’s NDP 11 draft until first week of December.

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