Wednesday, October 27, 2021

SPEDU picks up momentum in Phikwe

Government is rolling out 17 projects in its Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) Revitalisation Strategy at a total cost of P600 million to help the region following the liquidation of the BCL mine, Sunday Standard has learnt.

Documents show that that manufacturing projects will cost government a total of P462.5 million on projects such as bus manufacturing, harnesses manufacturing, steel manufacturing, cable manufacturing, as well as business process outsourcing. Other projects such construction of a bridge, an aviation school and a private institution will gobble up P156 million.  The foreign companies that are expected to invest in SPEDU have not been named in the document. 

However, at least P100 million has been budgeted for a foreign company in the vehicle manufacturing plant and it is expected to create 125 jobs. Another foreign company operating a textile project is expected to create 500 jobs with an investment of about P5 million. A project for gum pole treatment which will be also be operated by a foreign company has been allocated a budget of P50 million with 100 jobs expected to be created. 

Pula Steel, which is a citizen owned company has been allocated a budget of P28 million, and is likely to create 750 jobs. Another citizen owned company, Di Tech, has been allocated a budget of P20 million and 200 jobs are expected to be created.

The other three projects are the Platjaan Bridge, an aviation academy as well as Boitekanelo College with a total cost of P156 million.

Government recently announced the constituted national task team, led by the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry to put together a response strategy that will advice government on a strategic approach to reposition the SPEDU Region.  

The task team led by former Bank of Botswana governor Linah Mohohlo is also said to have engaged and had input from the business community in and outside Selibe Phikwe which has been incorporated in the proposed strategy for SPEDU Region.

The liquidation of BCL has far reaching economic, social and psychological implications. Government is said to be avoiding the total collapse of the region through short and long term strategies and also creating sustainable economic activities. 

Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) in conjunction with SPEDU and Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) are to host investment forums in Selibe Phikwe by mid-December.  Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) is expected to reduce the turnaround time for approval of business plans for companies in the SPEDU region. 

Increasing Ipelegeng funds and undertaking a special dispensation to increase duration of engagement of Phikwe and SPEDU residents in the programme is to take place.

Subsidising utilities provided by BPC and WUC are also a priority as well as establishing the SPEDU region as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

“At least 30 percent of government budget should be spent on locally manufactured goods and services, subject to prices and quality of products being competitive,” reads the summary.

Government is of the view that measurement tools will be used to gauge the effectiveness and performance of the plan at intervals. Also to be measured is the successful implementation of proposed tactics as per stakeholder levels.

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