Leader of Opposition in Parliament and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President, Duma Boko has proposed that in addition to the budget presented by Minister of Finance and Development Planning on Monday, a further P2 billion be added to engage in new projects that will enhance the country’s economic growth and create jobs.
Responding to the Budget Speech presented by Minister Matambo on Monday, Boko said government should set aside P500 million for land servicing; P200 million for Research and Development; P20 million for the Police Service as part of significantly enhancing its capabilities and capacity as a professional law enforcement agency.
Boko has also proposed for an additional expenditure of P800 million this year for spending on the development of vocational training and education in Botswana. He says government should consider proposal to finance the training of more than 10 000 citizens for six month and one year courses to equip the unemployed but trainable citizens for semi-skilled and skilled (depending on level) role jobs in the envisaged construction of the trans-Kalahari railway, Kazungula bridges, local area Government maintenance work and other community infrastructure projects.
The UDC also wants government to invest an additional P300 million in Public Private Partnerships (PPPS) for water drainage infrastructure/ technologies and solar/bio power technologies to harvest water and generate power effectively in communities.
UDC is of the view that there should not be any shortage of water in a place like Gaborone where there are occasional floods, and where if the water was harvested effectively, the country would not be under water-shortage strain. “We have noted the already existing investments in the north-south water carrier, but we believe much more can be done if resources were permitting,” he noted.
Boko holds that improving public sector efficiency is strongly linked with adoption of procurement policies that are derived from the creation of a Citizen Economic Law in this country.
The UDC president says privatization of public entities should be informed by a strong policy on who will own the privatized entity; how many jobs will be created as a result of such efficiencies and how privatization results in economic growth. Boko is of the view that citizen economic empowerment should be an integral part of sustained economic growth; and one of doing this should be through ensuring that Citizens participate in the privatization process.
Boko argues that for the privatization programme to be sustainable and beneficial to Batswana, government should come with a scheme that will ensure that Batswana participate and benefit from the privatization process. Boko says government should establish an Investment Fund, to allow Batswana to buy into state assets which are up for privatization.
“Although Citizen Economic Empowerment Law is critical for Botswana to create sustainable jobs, it has to be part of a broad industrial Policy Framework which under the UDC Government will provide a strategic direction to the economy,” said Boko.
Boko warned that without a citizen economic empowerment Law, Batswana shall remain poor; and Botswana will continue as the 3rd leading country in the world in terms of income inequality. Boko contends that to create jobs, there is a need for economic empowerment law that will support citizen SMME businesses through procurement.
Boko also took a swipe at the government’s failure to maintain efficiency in project implementation in Botswana, saying the country’s projects in recent years have not been completed on time and or on budget. Boko says the adoption of E-Procurement solution by PPADB will not help improve project implementation.
He noted that E-Procurement could only expedite allocation of projects; which is the whole objective of the solution. “What Botswana faces is poor implementation of projects which mainly causes cost overruns and failure to deploy the right human resource complement. E-Procurement solution will not address this,” he contended.
Boko says as a government which has ambition of being efficient and innovative, there is a need to invest in Research and Development to be spearheaded by Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) to develop commercial products based on our natural resources. Boko says Botswana should have been self-sufficient in beef and dairy products, and also be one the leading exporters of these products.
â€¨Boko, who is also Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington North says foreign pharmaceuticals are securing patents based on indigenous medicinal herbs, contending that local pharmacists and medical researchers should also be given the means to do that. “This indigenous knowledge that has been accumulated over millennia should be harnessed, not lost. Botswana is renowned for developing and exporting animal husbandry vaccines. This achievement can be replicated in other areas,” he said.
Boko says government has failed on its mandate of providing affordable house saying the situation is even becoming worse with time. “Now more than ever before, housing is beyond reach for the majority of the working population. Late in the day, even the rolled programme does not meet the demand for low-cost housing,” he observed. “We would propose an additional P500 million to purchase more land and embark on Public Private Partnerships for the servicing of those land-parcels in-order to make more land available for housing needs of a large number of Batswana,” Boko said.
Boko wants the government to spend an additional P200 million for further PPP Research and Development, commercialization and joint ventures in potentially niche sectors of Botswana such as food (meat recipes, cheeses, chocolates, morula drinks, honies), medicines, material sciences, coal beneficiation, solar technology.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.