Member of Parliament for Boteti East, Setlhomo Lelatisitswe has challenged government to broaden scope of the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) to include the mining sector, saying not everyone is a tenderpreneur.
When delivering the 2016/17 budget speech last week, Minister of Finance and Development Planning Ken Matambo said government will start rolling out the ESP with particular focus on infrastructure development, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, leaving out the mining sector. Matambo said the ESP was meant to boost the country’s sluggish economy and create employment in the face of record unemployment, especially amongst the vulnerable majority youth. However, when contributing to the budget speech last week, Lelatisitwe called for the ESP to be broadened to include other sectors of the economy especially mining.
“I call for broader extension of the ESP to include the mining sector. Not everyone is a tenderpreneur,” he said.
He called for the reversal of the scenario that has been unfolding in Botswana over the years, when diamond exploration and mining has been reserved for white expatriates while only a few Batswana benefit from their natural resources.
“We are not asking for much; but to be allowed to carry out simple operations such the excavating and removal of waste. By so doing we will be putting the economy of the country in the hands of Batswana and contributing meaningfully to mineral beneficiation. These are issues that the ESP should focus on,” he said.