Govt. urged to harmonize policies and regulatory framework for ease of business
Botswana’s archaic regulatory framework and policies were once again under the spotlight at the 15th National Business Conference held at Adansonia Hotel in Francistown.
Held under the theme: ‘Breakthrough to a high income Botswana: the role of the private sector in charting the course’, delegates called for a review of policies to allow business to thrive.
In his welcome remarks at Monday’s opening ceremony, Business Botswana President Gobusamang Keebine explained the theme recognises that high income economies as espoused in Vision 2036 invariably provide greater employment opportunities.
Keebine believes the key to a Higher Income Botswana lies in employee engagement that will drive discretional effort in every sector, both public and private, as well as improving the country’s competiveness in the global market.
He further urged industry players to be ‘trail blazers’ to patriotism and corporate responsibility to ensure they bend the arch of leadership towards inclusion and engagement.
“Regulations and policy are currently not advised to turn the wheels. Let us confidently look into regulations and policies that increase harmony by allowing economic power to be for all, so that we do not undermine human freedom to dream!”
The BB President noted that the Private sector has a more textured experience to advise on policy and regulation that impact on the ease of doing business. He further said the current entrepreneurship is curtailed by regulations and policies that focus on conglomerates and hence squeeze out SMMEs.
“How many of us are struggling to make business grow or even stay afloat?” he asked rhetorically.
Keebine’s sentiments seemed to have set the tone for the day’s discussion as speaker after speaker poked at the current policies and regulatory framework, which are widely considered an impediment to a successful private sector.
De Beers resident President Neo Moroka also called for progressive policies which will empower citizens and business owners.
Moroka said the nation must have faith and trust in her own children and stop relying on consultants, “Who then tell us things we already know!
“We need to employ the right people in the right positions. I can tell you that for far too long we’ve had square pegs in round holes. That has to stop,” he said.
Moroka further condemned the poverty alleviation program ‘Ipelegeng’ as one that ‘only entraps people in poverty’.
Staying in tandem with all the previous speakers, President Mokgweetsi Masisi revealed his government is currently formulating a National Transformation Strategy meant to seek practical and effective ways of enhancing the competitive liveliness of the country.
Masisi said this is an essential ingredient to ensuring productivity and attaining a ‘high income’ status.
The President stressed his government is committed to easing the process of doing business in Botswana, through a regulatory framework that creates a conducive environment for business to flourish.
“First and foremost we have to deal with the bureaucratic red tape, which is one of the major issues that make it very difficult for business enterprises to set up and grow in Botswana,” he stated, adding that all Ministries have been directed to scan such laws and regulations in their areas of responsibility with a view to identifying those which are an impediment to the achievement of the country’s policy goals.
President Masisi further declared his government’s commitment to ensuring the country does not fall into the ‘middle-income trap’- a growth slowdown that tends to affect countries once they reach middle-income level.
He said to avoid this, global partnerships are critical for the advancement of economic development, hence their efforts to source funds from their development partners.
“In this regard we have secured P340 million from China as a grant during the last state visit which will finance key infrastructure projects,” ended Masisi.