Acting Botswana Ash Managing Director Kangangwani Phatshwane says the deplorable state of roads leading into and out of Sowa Township is negatively affecting economic activity in the area.
Patshwane made the above observation when delivering a keynote address at the 24th edition of the Business Botswana Northern Trade Fair (BBNTF) prize giving ceremony in Francistown on Saturday.
This year’s BBNTF was held under the theme: Is Tourism Botswana’s Hope Amidst Dwindling Mining Fortunes? Through the theme, Business Botswana is trying to interrogate ways and means to sustain the country after the mineral boom.
According to Phatshwane, the present condition of Sowa roads not only poses a challenge to economic activities but it has also become a death trap for drivers and traders who ply the roads on daily basis.
Haulage truck drivers, who frequent the potholed A3 Francistown-Maun road before branching to Sowa just before Nata are said to be the worst affected.
Besides salt exploration, Botswana Ash has a production capacity of 300 000 tonnes per annum 650 000 tonnes per annum for salt.
However, currently, its salt production stands at 420 000 tonnes per annum as it is limited by the available market rather than production constraints.
“Economic activities at Sowa is limited because the road network is not so conducive for business,” said Phatshwane, adding that a number of businesspeople in the trucking and logistics sector chose not to risk plying the Sowa route.
Phatshwane said haulage trucks are often forced to delay transportation of products to their destination after incurring a breakdown caused by potholes. He added that the poor road network has also contributed to no investors willing to set up businesses in Sowa.
“This development, according to some of the haulage truck operators, often leaves them cash strapped and hopeless,” he said.
Transport and Communications Minister Kitso Mokaila has long promised that his ministry will attend to the poor infrastructure along the A3 Francistown-Maun road by the year 2019.
“This development, according to some of the haulage truck operators, often leaves them cash strapped and hopeless – compelling many of them to question whether the district is indeed part of the country,” he said.
Although slowly, Transport and Communications Minister Kitso Mokaila has long promised that his ministry will deal with the poor infrastructure along the A3 Francistown-Maun road by the year 2019.