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We need to rebuild our economy

Publishing Date : 19 June, 2018

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Botswana is still smarting away from the effects of the 2008 economic recession that in actually fact it never recovered from. The rate of economic growth since 2008 indicates that we are not faring well given our economic record since independence.

We have done a lot of things wrongly in the past that we should not do going forward. If we know what we truly seek to achieve as an economy, our policies and laws should speak to that. In the past we had a situation where government sets its economic objectives, but its institutions proved to behave in a manner that was detrimental to the realisation of those objectives.

The new Minister of Immigration, Gender and Nationality, Dorcas Makgato is on record stating that her objective is to ensure that her ministry become a ‘facilitator’ as opposed to being ‘frustrator’, which has been the case. This in essence, is an admission that delivery of immigration services was a problem over the years.

There is known tale of the involvement of the Directorate of Intelligence Security (DIS) and how it sabotaged the country’s economic ambitions. Botswana lost an estimated P10 billion worth of investment over the the past eight years or so simply because we became careless in dealing with the people we need the most; the people who would have created jobs and boosted Botswana’s economy.

DIS was essentially sabotaging mandate of the Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC), which part of its mandate was to provide administrative and business support aimed at facilitating investor applications relating to business registration, licensing, work and residence permits.

Even then BITC CEO, Letsebe Sejoe publicly admitted that investors were finding it difficult to do business in Botswana because the process was unfriendly and at time unreasonable. Not only the DIS was an impendent, investors could not be availed with other resourced they needed to do business such as land, power, water and other services essentials, within a reasonable timeframe.

Botswana became a go no area because people were all of sudden told they cannot come here, for reasons best known to DIS. Even the Immigration department itself was not part of this decision making.  These are fundamentals mistakes that we made as nation and in the process we hurt our economy.

Government ministries should complement each other and ensure that they work together for the purpose of delivering the country’s economic agenda. Over the years we have seen lack of synergy between ministries which led to economic inefficiencies. In getting the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that we need to avail land, water, electricity, telecommunication, internet and other necessities in today’s economy.   Individual ministries should be able to deliver these services in a clear coordinated manner.

 There is need for our country to revamp our key cities, especially Gaborone and Francistown for investment purposes.  At the forefront of this revamp should be investment in infrastructure. We need both the physical and non-physical infrastructure for economic progress.
The standards of our roads are in a dire state, particularly in the capital Gaborone.

No nation success transforms its economy without investing in infrastructure and developed countries have made this massive investment over the years. Botswana should also as a matter of necessity start a drastic upgrading in the infrastructure so as to ensure that it “enables” faster economic growth and development.

Revamping the city would come at a great price, but this should be the price that we are willing to pay, to deliver a vibrant economy in coming years. Not only do we need the physical infrastructure, our institutions especially the regulator institutions should be effective and should enjoy trust from investors so that the feel protected at all the times.



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