Executive Chairman of Pula Holdings Kagiso Mmusi has called on government to come up with innovative ways of ensuring that citizen companies get a stake in the multi billion Pula capital investment projects that are coming into Botswana.
Mmusi also drew government attention to how the weak Pula is making it difficult for business in Botswana to attract skilled manpower from the international market.
In his budget speech on Monday Minister of Finance Baledzi Gaolathe outlined a number of large capital investments projects that he said have the potential to further kick start the growth of Botswana’s economy.
Most such projects are financed with private capital.
Speaking at the FNB 13th annual budget breakfast seminar Mmusi who heads one Botswana’s largest multi resource and most diversified indigenous business groups said a way has to be found to make citizen companies benefit.
One way to ensure that citizens get a stake of the pie is by government making it mandatory that non core areas of the incoming projects are awarded to citizen companies.
He said there should be a transparent procurement system that deliberately favours citizens.
“Local companies should be allowed to benefit in the booming mining sector,” said Mmusi.
He said it is important that a way is found to ensure that procurement money is spent inside the country.
“Local numbers are needed in the economy,” said Mmusi emphatically.
This would help government in the recovery of CEDA loans, he said.
He welcomed the government’s decision to raise to P10 million the threshold of individual ministries’ procurement figures.
In his speech Minister Gaolathe said ministries will no longer seek the permission of the Ministry of Finance in their procurements for contracts with a ceiling of P10 million.
Mmusi said this has the potential to expedite implementation.
He said it would be a good idea if government was to engage the services of a private consultancy firm that will help to push project implementation.
Such a firm, said Mmusi, would then be remunerated based on implementation of such projects.
On another note, Mmusi said there has been an improvement on the part of government in reducing the processing of industrial licenses from one month to one week. He also welcomed the establishment of the innovative hub.
He said the concerns raised by the business sector needed to be given the urgency that government has given to its handling of HIV/AIDS.
“The President has taken it upon himself to address HIV/AIDS, it is time he does the same with business concerns,” said Mmusi.
Mmusi also suggested that citizen companies that show seriousness in their potential to bring in foreign expertise as partners should have land made available to them, with such land seized back by government if they take inordinate lengths of time to utilize it.