The Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs has reduced the turnaround time for citizen renunciation such that people renouncing citizenship of the other country are processed immediately instead of 3-6 months as has been.
Minister Dorcas Makgato revealed this week that her ministry has relaxed requirements on stateless citizens staying in Botswana, who are around 12 000 in number, so as to facilitate them to resume citizenship. Makgato said that people who never took citizenship of the other country but failed to renounce upon age 21 will be exempt from the current administrative requirements of producing a valid passport and/or documents of the other country.
“In addressing these problems my ministry will ensure that affected person, including their children, both minor and major, are assisted within the limits of the law and each case will be looked at within its special circumstances,” she said. As for the 12 000 classified as stateless people, a renunciation form will be provided.
“The said form will have a portion for persons who are not sure whether they are citizens of the other country or not by virtue of the citizenship laws of that other country. The envisaged process will reduce the turnaround time since it will be such that applicants will be assisted immediately as compared to the current 3-6 months,” she added.
Furthermore, Makgato said the ministry was working around the clock to clear the Omang backlog by August 31 2018.This would be on time for general elections registration. “We do not want to deny people from exercising their right hence why the ministry is doing all it can so that it doesn’t frustrate people,” she highlighted. At the end of May 2017, the National Identity register stood at 1 634 294. 136 844 Omang cards were not yet renewed dating back from 1998 to date. Currently the ministry is clearing 59 000 deaths from the system. Since April 2018, 64 000 Omang renewals have been done.
The law has also been relaxed for elder people as they will no longer be requested to bring a witness who is ten years older than them, where the date of birth is unknown and captured as xx/xx. The applicant is no longer required to make an affidavit confirming the replacement of xx/xx with 01/01.
“The request for elders to bring people who have known them for more than 10 years was problematic hence why the ministry decided to use a guideline for verification of age such as calendar of events for example, ngwaga wa tsie, ntwa ya lehatshe ya ntlha,” Makgato explained. The National Registration Act of 2017 that introduced the specifications for a photograph of an Omang card created ambiguity and clashes with some communities, religion and culture, she said.
“While the ministry addresses this, the affected communities will retain the headgear and push it away from the forehead in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.” There will also be no penalties for minors between 16 and 18 who have failed to register on time and the ministry is no longer confiscating Omang cards from the public unless obtained fraudulently.
The ministry on VISA
The ministry has further committed itself to facilitate movement of people across borders to promote investment, tourism and relations with other countries. They have also identified impediments to delays in the issuance of VISA as well as the work and residence permits. The Ministry decided to:
>Decentralize VISA processing to Embassies
>Allow provision of VISAs at port of entry; exits at Kasane and any other Border Posts near National Parks are authorized to grant VISA on arrival to tourists who are travelling into Botswana as a tour group for day trips
> Allow group applicants as opposed to individual applicants
>Allow visitors maximum of 90 days VISA instead of the current 30 days practice
>Automatically grant VISA to applicants who have been granted work and residence permits.
>Decentralize the service of certification to any commissioner of Oaths in line with the Commissioner of Oaths Acts.
>Investors on wind up period are now given up to six months period from 30 days.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.