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Inside the Presidency-Issue No 19 of 2011

INSIDE THE PRESIDENCY – Real Leadership for Real Delivery

Self-reliance key to Rural Development

Welcome to another edition of your weekly window into events and issues involving the Presidency.

This morning H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, will be holding one of his periodic meetings with Permanent Secretaries. These gatherings are an opportunity for the collective leadership of the civil service to interact as a group with His Excellency so as to share their candid perspectives on how to improve public service delivery. 

Sharing perspectives for better delivery was also at the top of the agenda at this Tuesday’s joint meeting of Cabinet and the Ghanzi District Council, which was held at Ghanzi Council Chambers.

The initiative of taking Cabinet to the Councils has become an important platform for the exchange of ideas between the National Executive and Local Authorities, recognising that the latter play a critical role in enhancing our democracy by, among other things, ensuring that Government policies and programmes match local capacity and expectations.   

In addition to the Ghanzi, joint Cabinet- Local Council meetings have so far been held with the Francistown and Gaborone City Councils, and Kweneng, Central, Southern, North West and Kgalagadi District Councils. They are scheduled to continue in the coming months so that Cabinet ultimately has the opportunity to interact with all of the nation’s Local Authorities.

In his opening remarks at Tuesday’s gathering the President noted that, given the current state of our economy, which has had a negative effect on revenues resulting in budget deficits, political leaders at both the national and local level now have a responsibility to inform Batswana that Government will not be able to deliver on some of the projects that were promised in the past.

In this context, he noted that there was a need for Councils to become more proactive in their own revenue collection so as to complement the grants they receive from Central Government. In the absence of such stepped up cost recovery, he warned that funding will otherwise become inadequate for the provision and extension of desired services and infrastructure.

His Excellency also urged Local Authorities to consider privatisation of some of their non-core functions such as cleaning, security, refuse collection and gardening services to enable them to concentrate on their core mandate of ensuring the overall delivery of public policies and programme.

Observing that such outsourcing would “serve to stimulate private sector investment in the provision of goods and services” thus enhancing efficiency that “will also generate sustainable rural employment and alleviate poverty”, he also noted that:

“It should also be realised that sustainable rural livelihoods must be based on the economic realities of the rural situation.  We therefore need to recognise the varying potentials of the different districts and focus on issues of comparative advantage and market access.  There is a lot of potential in areas such as the livestock subsector, cultural villages, game viewing and the hospitality industry just to mention the key ones.  These are some of the economic activities that Ghanzi District can leverage on using government assistance programmes.”

The President also expressed his concern that the spirit of self help that had laid a solid foundation for nation building and mobilisation for development at independence has given way to an unsustainable culture of entitlement and dependency on government. 

He concluded his remarks by reminding the audience that their key challenge and focus remained employment creation and poverty reduction, which would require all of the Councils to pursue strategies and initiatives aimed at eradicating poverty, acknowledging that besides Government, rural development initiatives must also tale on board the private sector and civil society, including community based organizations.

In other activities this week, on Monday the President received a courtesy call from the President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) Mr. Jean Todt, who had come to Gaborone to attend the first General Meeting of the African Council for Tourism and Automobile (ACTA). The meeting was hosted this week by the Ministry of Transport and Communication in association with other stakeholders. In addition to Botswana it attracted the participation of delegates from Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

In other engagements His Excellency on Thursday received a farewell call from the outgoing Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Mr. Ryoichi Matsuyama, who has the distinction of being his country’s first resident Ambassador. The opening of the Japanese Embassy in Gaborone in 2008 has proved to be a milestone in the strengthening of bilateral relations, as was reflected in the success of the President’s State Visit to Japan last year.

In saying goodbye, the President warmly thanked Ambassador Matsuyama for his energetic efforts over the past three years in promoting people to people as well as official contact between our two countries.

During the week His Excellency also received briefings from the Ministries of Health and Lands and Housing and chaired a meeting of his political party’s Central Committee.


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