The Managing Director of Haighs Investments, a property development company, Victor Senye has reminded the government to follow through its intention to have the private sector lead the economy.
Senye said there is a need to engage the private sector in the delivery of infrastructure such as roads, water and sewage and land servicing.
“By engaging the private sector this will take away the feeling that Government is competing with its private sector and thereby creating uncertainty and risk,” said Senye.
He added that it is important that where Government has demand for space, then such information should be freely available to all in order for investors to make informed decisions.
Senye is worried that currently local entrepreneurs are questioning the role of government in building its offices and factory shells instead of giving such opportunities to the private sector instead government should play more of a facilitation role.
He said the investment climate is encouraging when viewed in the context of a difficult global environment however on the local economy it’s difficult since government is still a major player as it controls a large number of investable assets.
“Government‘s large control of assets is prohibitive at the same time its revenue is under pressure” he said. Senye said currently there is limited activity in the property sector locally due to the lack of serviced land.
“This could easily lead to artificially high prices as demand outpaces supply,” he said. Senye said Botswana has not yet reached the level of allocation to alternative asset classes as witnessed in most of the developed world due to a limited absorption capacity within the local economy.
“Investable opportunities are few and there is a need to generate deal flows that produce attractive risk adjusted returns. The commercial office space and the retail sector are getting tight and one has to be very selective,” he said.
He said the policy framework has been progressive; however, the issue is one of implementation and execution on the ground.