The Member of Parliament for Boteti North, Slumber Tsogwane has urged government to put citizens at the forefront if it wants to achieve meaningful economic diversification. The MP is worried that industries like tourism, which are deemed as growth sectors, are in the “hands of foreigners”.
Responding to the state of nation address on Thursday, he said transfer of skills should also be encouraged and not foreign based.
“The diversification should be citizen driven,” he said. “While foreigners enjoy the fruits of the tourism sector Batswana eat only the crumbs,” he said.
“They should not be relegated to driving canoes, employed as guides or owning some guests houses. But rather should be the cream of the industry.”
President Ian Khama said in his State of the Nation address that the number of wholly citizen owned licensed tourism enterprises, putting the tally at 473, an increase of 67 from the previous year.
“While 144 are joint ventures, 220 are non-citizen owned,” the president added. “We want quality and not just numbers,” Tsogwane however argued.
Seconding the diamond sector, tourism is often seen as a driving force for the elusive diversification process with hordes of investors crowding the sector. The move has rubbed the nation and legislators alike the wrong way.