Africa-Press – Botswana. Government is committed to creating a financially stable Botswana and continues to foster prosperity and employment for Batswana by attracting both domestic and foreign investors to the country.

Acting Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Beauty Manake said this at the Metlhala ya Khumo outreach event held at Tati Siding recently.

Ms Manake said the ministry’s communication strategy aimed to highlight services, policies and programmes it offered, alongside its implementing agencies, who were integral in fulfilling their goals.

She added that as part of efforts to take services closer to the people, they visited Tati Siding community, including businesses and consumers, to allow residents to directly interact with service providers and policy makers.

She said different organisations including the Ministry of Agriculture together with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), continued to showcase programmes designed to uplift the informal sector and arable farmers, stimulating income generation and employment opportunities.

She also highlighted that initiatives like the Chema Chema Fund, facilitated by CEDA and LEA, promoted financial inclusion and growth for informal Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) through short-term loans.

Additionally, she said Temo Letlotlo, a collaborative effort spanning ministries, state-owned enterprises and the private sector, focused on boosting food security through a productivity-output reward system.

Furthermore, she indicated that the ministry was committed to creating an enabling environment for the agricultural sector’s growth and development through programmes.

“In pursuit of economic diversification and reduced import dependency, initiatives such as government procurement of local products and services have been pivotal. The new statutory instrument concerning cement imports, effective October 1 this year, aims to bolster Botswana’s participation in the cement value chain, fostering employment opportunities and local industry growth,” she said.

For his part, the ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, Mr Gideon Mmolawa said they continued to tour the country and roll out the Metlhala Ya Khumo initiative in order to educate Batswana on different government programmes available to help eradicate poverty.

Mr Mmolawa said they also aimed to attract foreign investors to the country to grow and empower the local market and in turn improve the livelihoods of Batswana.

Again, he said the ministry aimed to digitise their services and ensure that they reached all Batswana in different areas.

Representing the business sector, Business Community chairperson, Mr Makgesi Marata expressed concern about the Chema Chema loan grace period, saying businesses should at least be given six months of operation and settling before repaying the money.

“The market community has relocated to better cities as they are no better developments and services in Francistown,” Mr Marata added.

He was also concerned about the recently introduced local perdiem, arguing that it crippled the tourism industry, saying ‘hotels are no longer utilised but government employees currently opt for cheaper accommodation’.

In response Ms Manake explained that the local perdiem was designed to boost and empower small scale businesses and also reduce the government bill because employees used to book expensive accommodation facilities which were costly to government.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Tati East, Dr Douglas Letsholathebe encouraged residents to take up programmes provided for them seriously in order to improve their standards of living.

Dr Letsholathebe said government programmes were meant for all Batswana to benefit and therefore urged residents to attend gatherings such as Metlhala Ya Khumo in large numbers to ensure that they received first-hand and right information.

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