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MP emphasises economy diversification

12 Mar 2023

Maun West Member of Parliament, Mr Dumelang Saleshando has implored government to strive to diversify the economy on the back of diamond revenues.

In his comments on the Ministry of Minerals and Energy’s 2023/2024 financial year budget proposal recently, Mr Saleshando said diamonds were not forever, hence economic diversification should remain a key national objective.

“The economy remains very dependent on diamond mining, which as a depleting resource is not sustainable.

It must be government’s priority to support the sustainable growth of the diamond value chain so that the country continues to invest in other sectors of the economy,” Mr Saleshando said.

Mr Saleshando was of the view that government should be wary of the volatility of the diamond market and develop opportunities in the downstream sector.

“More needs to be done to build capacity and expand opportunities for more citizen participation in the diamond value chain. Government should commit to invest in the development of the citizenry so that they can perform more complex work with the goal of ultimately playing a more meaningful part in the diamond value chain,” he said.

Mochudi East MP, Mr Mabuse Pule applauded government’s intention to liberalise power supply for all the villages that depended on cross border power supplies in order to relieve them  frequent power outages.

Mr Pule was optimistic that liberalisation of the power supply would ensure equitable supply and distribution of power to all villages connected to the local power grid and relieve his constituents from frequent blackouts that negatively impacted households and businesses in Sikwane, Ramonaka and Mmathubudukwane.

Palapye MP, Mr Onneetse Ramogapi decried of lack of transparency on government and DeBeers mining contract and also expressed disappointment on the prolonged negotiations between the two parties.

Mr Ramogapi challenged government to refrain from exporting minerals in their raw form while the country was still faced with high unemployment rates.

Lerala/Maunatlala MP, Mr Sethabelo Modukanele commended government for reducing electricity connection fees.

Mr Modukanele, however expressed concern about the delay in sanctioning the Lerala mine, arguing that the mine had the potential to boost both the formal and informal sectors in the constituency.

Responding to the MPs’ comments, Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mr Lefoko Moagi said  government was committed to finalising negotiations with De Beers for the benefit of the nation.

He said government was negotiating with the interests of Batswana at heart, thus assured legislators that Botswana would get a fair deal in the diamond deal.

On developing linkages with the rest of the economy, as was the case with many raw materials, Mr Moagi said the greatest opportunities including developing new industries, were dependent on going up the value chain.

“It is through developing raw materials’ value chains that one is able to innovate and build sustainability thus value chains are key to the deepening of economic diversification in this country,” he said.

He said government had taken a decision to add value to all its natural resources including diamonds, adding “that would in no small measure, increase the contribution of the mineral sector to Botswana’s Gross Domestic Product.” Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Thato Mosinyi

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament

Date : 12 Mar 2023