Phikwe to create 2000 jobs by March 2017-Molefhi
Selibe Phikwe will have created over 2000 job opportunities by March 2017, Selibe Phikwe East Member of Parliament, Nonofo Molefhi told residents on Wednesday.
Molefhi who is also Minister of Infrastructure and Housing announced that the textile firm which is awaiting loan approval from CEDA will create over 1500 jobs alone. “We have had many people doubting the practicality of our revitalization undertaking, but I am here to let you know that get ready, jobs will soon be advertised,” he said.
“A textile firm is waiting crediting of their loan from CEDA, and as soon as that happens production will commence and Selibe Phikwe youth will be hired,” Molefhi confirmed. According to Molefhi the textile industry this time around will be sustainable as they have put measures in place to make the investment airtight lest the 2008 instance of investors who enjoyed tax holidays and disappeared repeats itself.
Minister Molefhi also revealed at the meeting that the government of Botswana is devising a strategy under the Special Economic Zones Authority in which investors will be wooed to set up businesses in Selibe Phikwe with incentives and less cumbersome procedures. Molefhi stipulated that loosened procedures include allocating land to genuine investors which will be done in a week’s time, adding that Botswana Power Corporation and Water Utilities will take 48 hours to assist such serious investors.
“I am personally of the view that all chuck of fertile land allocated to investors should be retrieved if the land bearers are not serious with creating jobs and producing food, we have a serious situation here that needs serious investors and business people,” he explained.
According to the cabinet Minister, the Ministry of Investment Trade and Industry will at the next cabinet seating present a strategic framework that entails findings of a brief research and recommendation on how Phikwe investments can be fast tracked.
“As we resume work this coming week, Minister Seretse will present to the cabinet of President Khama his ministry‘s recommendation on tax incentives, work permits, immigration procedures pertaining the investors that we want here , we don’t want any delays because we are moving against time’’ he said.
Agriculture and Food Processing
The soft spoken lawmaker who is addressing a series of meetings in his constituency also revealed that the National Agro Processing Plant (NAPRO) is now breaking into the lucrative retail market. “This morning I visited SPEDU and NAPRO, I was informed that just yesterday (Tuesday 17th) NAPRO signed a formal agreement with Choppies Superstore, one of the biggest and fast-growing retail chain stores in Africa,” he explained.
Molefhi expressed delight over this deal saying that it will automatically boost the plant‘s sales and eventually take the Haven Harvest NAPRO brand abroad as Choppies is a regional retail giant and a continental fast growing store. “This means that very soon NAPRO will expand its operation and start to processes more raw material, something which will translate to job creation at the plant and farms,” he observed.
Molefhi added that CEDA has NAPRO raw material suppliers backward funding, adding that with Talana farms revived, farms at Thune Irrigation Scheme, the NAFRTEC owned tomato sauce producer is heading for a success and will soon boost Botswana’s export value. According to Molefhi, the agricultural and food processing sector under the Phikwe economic recovery strategy will make a turnaround in the entire national food security status.
“SPEDU is currently arranging a 1000 hectare land for an investor who will set up Olive grains plantations here in the region adding that the land will be leased from communal farm land from one area and the grains will be taken to South Africa to be processed into Oil.
“This investor already has a processing plant in South Africa and in future we will explore possibilities of him setting up the processing plant here if he can successfully produce the grains locally,” said Molefhi. He also added that 300 hectares of land has been identified at Lotsane Dam for horticultural use proving beyond reasonable doubt that NAPRO will be a regional agro processing entity that has abundant raw materials.
Manufacturing and Machinery Assembly factories
For manufacturing businesses, Minister Molefhi told attendants that during Christmas Holidays the Selibe Phikwe Economic diversification Unit (SPEDU) was showing Indian Investors around town and discussing a lucrative manufacturing and assembly business.
“While you and I were resting during festive season, SPEDU met Indian investors who are going to setup a tractor assembly plant here, land has already been allocated and final paperwork is underway,” he explained, adding that this business will add to already existing arrangement by local cell phone and laptop assembly companies DItec & Almaz who will start operation and hire over 800 people by March 2017.
Molefhi also added that the long awaited pharmaceutical and medicine pack is no longer just a talk as the Environmental Impact Assessment(EIA) has already began to determine the type of processing mechanism and plant technology to use in Selibe Phikwe.
SPEDU is fruitful
Meanwhile the Selibe Phikwe East legislator explained that the regional Economic agency mandated to resuscitate Phikwe is on top gear and working at high speed. While conceding that SPEDU has been in existence for many years without tangible projects, Molefhi explains that SPEDU has been making feasibility studies and investigating the region to asses and come up with best economic opportunities that can be salvaged from the area.
“SPEDU is now refurbished and reenergized now to transform the economy of this region.” Molefhi further revealed that the Selibe Phikwe Regional Chamber of Commerce which comprises of the region business community has been formed under the stewardship of SPEDU. “The chamber of commerce has already entered into an agreement with SPEDU and the agency will finance and incubate the Chamber for a period of 1 year until it can finance itself,” said Molefhi.
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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup
With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.
Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.
The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.
Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.
“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.
Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.
Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.
For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.
Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS
The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.
When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.
Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.
She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.
During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.
Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017
Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting
The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.
According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd, the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.
However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.
“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.
While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.
“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.
The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.