PARLIAMENT ÔÇô An attempt by Francistown West Member of Parliament (MP), Ignatius Moswaane to push for formulation of a policy geared towards capacitating the informal sector was on Friday thrown out on the basis that it was “unnecessary”.
The motion, which sought to request government to come up with a comprehensive policy to protect the interests of the informal sector, was declared unnecessary as government is already drawing up a policy along that line. Trade Minister, Saadique Kebonang told parliament on Friday that government is doing something on the matter. At voting time, only two MPs voted with Moswaane while 21 voted against the motion resulting in it being discarded.
However Moswaane enjoyed support from legislators across the floor, with some calling tor enactment of a law instead of a policy. When supporting the motion two weeks back, Labour and Home Affairs minister, Edwin Batshu said there is need to develop a comprehensive policy to protect the informal sector as it has great potential for employment creation and economic diversification. Batshu said the Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs has long detected challenges faced by the informal sector, as it undertook a baselines study on women in the informal cross border trade.
“This study recommended formulation of a comprehensive informal sector development policy as the sector has proven to be a viable vehicle for generation of wealth, economic growth as well as economic diversification,” he said.
The total number of informal sector businesses in Botswana as at March 2015 was estimated at 116, 571. At the same time, the total estimated number of persons employed in the same sector during the same period was 191, 176. Batshu said various studies carried have shown that women in Botswana are the ones who are predominately found in the precarious informal sector. At the same time Batshu admitted that conflict with authorities, especially local authorities remains amongst key challenges that the informal sector faces.