Africa-Press – Botswana. Residents of Chadibe and neighbouring villages in Shashe West have called for implementation of government programmes and policies meant to improve the lives of Batswana.

Speaking at a stakeholder engagement campaign dubbed: Metlhala ya Khumo addressed by the Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Beauty Manake, in Chadibe on Saturday, residents said the government had formulated good programmes and policies which when implemented could reduce unemployment, diversify the economy and contribute to value chain in Botswana.

They blamed those tasked with the execution of the programmes for laxity thereby making their attainable difficult with complex paperwork which rendered applicants to move back and forth between offices.

“Government programmes and policies are good and well-crafted but there is a problem of implementation,” said Mr Jerry Radebe from Makobo who called for the mind-set change among public servants and parastatals. “Your service providers are impeding progress.”

Residents advised the trade and industry ministry to provide mentorship for youth in their area saying many of them have the drive to start businesses but were inhibited by lack of knowledge particularly when it came to filling out funds application forms.

Also, another resident, Mr Raymond Tuelo, who is living with disability decried that some parastatals were still failing to exempt people living with disability (PLWD) in their service provision. For instance, he said PLWD were still buying codes at the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) at full prices.

“We are still struggling to be exempted as compared to the youth,” said Mr Tuelo who is blind.

On other issues, residents called for the establishment of entertainment centres in the villages to avoid noise pollution from revellers and brush with the law.

“Some of us survive through performance or playing music in bars. This put us on a collision course with the by-law regarding sound. It is therefore our wish that government could establish places where we can ply our trades freely without worrying about disturbing others through high volumes,” Mr Jacob Ndebele of Natale, said.

Residents also criticised sections of the Liquor Act of 2003 which postulates that certain liquor businesses should be located 500 metres from the road, schools, and churches.

They submitted that the law should apply only to new applicants, not those which were already in operation. In response, the acting deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of

Tradeand Industry, Ms Seipati Olweny, assured them that the law did not apply to already operating establishments. “If you already have a license you are allowed to continue operating,” she said.

She also allayed fears of slackness among public servants noting that they would keep on improving their efficiency and effectiveness for the benefit of the people.

Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) Regional Manager-North, Ms Pauline Gagoitseope, said her agency would keep on improving the turnaround time of applications. Initially, she said, they used to take long to assist applicants but they have since reduced the turnaround period to 21 days.

The plan is to further reduce turnaround time to 14 days if a customer has provided us with everything needed, she said.

However, Ms Manake encouraged young people to apply for the Youth Development Fund (YDF). The number of youth applying for YDF was low. Ms Manake said Metlhala ya Khumo was aimed at taking the ministry and its parastatal services closer to the people through the engagement of key stakeholders.

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