In presenting the national budget speech last week, Minister of Finance made a point that Government would like to reduce its involvement in the economy.
He said it is important that the private sector took up some of the responsibilities currently held by Government.
It has always been a complaint that government’s overweening involvement in the economy was crowding out the private sector.
Anyone who knows anything about Botswana’s political economy would be aware that government presence sprawls every sector of the economy.
The private sector should up its game and ensure it fully exploits the leverage created by government’s reduced involvement in the economy┬áin the coming financial year (2012/13).
The space created by government should steer the private into action to capitalize on the void and use it to its advantage to further its future viability and sustainability.
It has always been our argument that government should pull out of business so that our economy could be steered by the private sector.
A viable private sector will obviously lessen government burden and help it concentrate on more demanding issues of running the state.
The space created by government in lessening its involvement (about 33 percent in 2012) in the economy should give the private sector enough impetus to rise to the occasion and fill the void thereby creating the necessary employment that government is otherwise failing to provide.
We believe that government took that deliberate move so as to focus on its core business of creating a conducive business environment by facilitating the┬áregulatory frame work┬áwhile┬áthe private sector steered the economy forward.
It has not been good for our economy to be government driven. Therefore any act aimed at lessening government involvement in doing business and creating room for the private sector to thrive without any inhibitions┬áis highly commendable.
There has always been no good reason for government to overcrowd the private sector in non-capital intensive economic activities.
As the country strives for economic diversification, such efforts should be driven by the private sector. Government cannot continue to out-compete the private sector in areas where clearly the private sector has got the capacity to provide goods and services efficiently.
The move by government not to out-compete the private sector in some sections of the economy is a good move because it relieves the government from being overburdened and concentrate on the core of its activities ÔÇô social services delivery.
In the circumstances, we are inclined to call on the private sector through the voice of organized business, BOCCIM and its members┬áto move timeously to ensure that it fully optimizes the benefits accruing from the space that government┬áis creating.
To succeed will not be easy. It will demand a paradigm shift and a change of mindset in doing business.
Business will have to raise the bar on creativity, imagination and innovation.
Efficiency and productivity will have to be enhanced.
For it to successfully occupy the space that Government is vacating, the private sector will have to produce goods and services of much high quality, matching international standards when it comes to pricing.
It has always been wrong for the private sector to solely rely on government for survival. The private sector has to be outward looking; no effort should be spared in penetrating local, regional and international markets.
With looming recession, government is limited to continue splashing its limited resources on the non-innovative private sector.
The world over, economies are not government led but are rather steered by the private sector as governments continue to create conducive environments in which to do business.
On another note we call on government to do all in its power to ensure that the business environment in Botswana is conducive enough for the survival of the private sector.
Red tape which has always been blamed for the collapse of the private sector should be reduced to ensure that all the available opportunities are fully exploited by the private sector.