Article – Botswana: Special Economic Zones to Strengthen Export Earnings

2 August 2015
Calviniah Kgautlhe
All Africa

Gaborone — The proposed Special Economic Zones Bill No. 10 of 2015 seeks to boost industrialisation and Botswana’s competiveness in the global economy.

Debating the bill in Parliament recently, Sefhare-Ramokgonami MP, Ms Dorcas Makgato, said creation of special economic zones would expedite industries competitiveness in the global market, hence strengthening the country’s export earnings.

“This is about the globe; we want to be able to compete, we are talking serious industries here, this has nothing to do with cooperatives or small businesses , it’s bigger than that,” she said.

Ms Makgato, also Minister of Health, said enacting legislation on special economic zones would enable Botswana to generate revenue, which would in turn finance development of necessary infrastructure such as road networks as well as deal with water and power shortage.

Mochudi East MP, Mr Isaac Davids, raised a concern that although the bill was a noble initiative, it would gather dust and would never materialise on account of prevalent shortage of water and power in the country, which were critical to the success of the special economic zones.

Mr Davids pointed out that when bills were drawn; Batswana should be taken on board through the democratic principle of consultation to ensure that they fully understood and participated.

“We must hasten to enact this authority, let’s empower the people found in the areas that will be special economic zones,” said Boteti East MP, Mr Lelatisitswe Sethomo who was speaking in support of the bill.

Ramotswa MP, Mr Samuel Rantuana, said there was need to develop areas in which the special economic zones were designated adding that Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMES) also played a critical role in the economy that they must not be ruled out when infrastructure was developed in the economic precincts.

Maun East MP, Mr Kostantinos Markus said Maun was cut out for tourism as tourism activities were already in place and that it should be a special tourism economic zone.

He said it should be developed further to position it as an attractive destination.
MP Markus said land use patterns in his constituency areas should be reconsidered for the reason that residents were given plots for growing of crops, yet it has proven to fail due the human wildlife conflict.

“Elephants destroy their fields’ fences, let’s change land use to allow them to have lodges,” he said.

Ngami MP, Mr Thato Kwerepe also said in Ngami area, residents had a tendency of venturing into the same business and their businesses were not profitable as they operated without forming syndicates.

He cited basketry and boats as examples adding that there should be law that compels them to cluster together in order to make more profits.

He added that Ngami was naturally a special economic zone as there were natural amenities in place.

“In Etsha, there are reeds used for basket weaving and the Special Economic Zone bill will encourage them to collectively work together.”

Courtesy of All Africa

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