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PRESIDENT KHAMA'S SPEECH AT SATURDAY'S ESP LAUNCH
24/02/16
We are gathered this morning to mark the official launch of the Economic Stimulus Programme. The ESP is a programme that is meant to boost economic growth through increased Government spending in identified sectors, diversify the economy and accelerate employment creation. The Programme is a response to the current unfavourable economic climate following the world economic recession of 2008/9 which has resulted in job losses, not only in our country but in the world at large. One of the major challenges in the economy is fall of commodity prices in the mining sector including diamonds. There is a need to diversify the economy even more so as to create sustainable jobs and to be able to cushion the economy against the international shocks of the mineral process.

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. We are gathered this morning to mark the official launch of the Economic Stimulus Programme. The ESP is a programme that is meant to boost economic growth through increased Government spending in identified sectors, diversify the economy and accelerate employment creation.

 

2. The Programme is a response to the current unfavourable economic climate following the world economic recession of 2008/9 which has resulted in job losses, not only in our country but in the world at large. One of the major challenges in the economy is fall of commodity prices in the mining sector including diamonds. There is a need to diversify the economy even more so as to create sustainable jobs and to be able to cushion the economy against the international shocks of the mineral process.

 

3. It is in response to the above that ESP is targeting the construction, the manufacturing, tourism and the Agricultural sectors. The Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) and the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in particular will boost the local Manufacturing Sector. ESP also targets Infrastructure development through construction and maintenance of Government Facilities and the Re-skilling of youth. Implementation of the initiative will be enabled by the use of Information and Communication Technology as well as reforms in the procurement process to bring efficiency. These efforts will be further complemented by the implementation of the Doing Business Roadmap and Action Plan, recently launched by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The Government Implementation Coordination Office (GICO) is being strengthened to oversee the implementation of all government projects, monitor and to keep records of their progress while the National Strategy Office will focus on the successful delivery, strategic oversight and support to ensure that the goals of the ESP are achieved.

 

4. Below is the summary of projects and initiatives under the targeted sectors which will be implemented by the relevant ministries.

 

Agriculture Sector

 

5. The Sector, when commercialised, has a potential for significant economic growth. The initiatives are to:

➢ Implement the Dairy Strategy

➢ Provide infrastructure to production areas ➢ Facilitate market access through the formation of production clusters and marketing cooperatives ➢ Construct the Processing plant for secondary agricultural products ➢ Provision of Agriculture Service Centres.

 

Tourism Sector

 

6. The Geographic expansion of Botswana’s tourism and provision of tailored business support services will allow the sector to be competitive. The sector is labour intensive and envisaged to create more local jobs. The Tourism initiatives include:

 

• The Kasane-Kazungula Re- development project (KKRDP) • Development and Growth in the Eco-Tourism Industry.

• Dams Tourism: These include Thune, Letsibogo, Dikgatlhong, Shashe and Ntimbale.

• Community Based Natural Resource Management Programme: in partnership with local communities and other initiatives.

 

 

Economic Diversification Drive - Boosting Manufacturing:

 

7. The aim of the initiative is to promote competitiveness through a   preference margin provided to local firms in public procurement. Emphasis will be on stimulating local manufacturing for domestic consumption, increased commitment to EDD by both the public and private sector. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has already strengthened the EDD Unit to ensure effective coordination of the programme.

 

8. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will be set as geographically distinct economic areas, providing an investor-friendly business environment that will make Botswana a preferred location for both domestic and foreign investment and providing confidence to investors. SEZs function with special administrative, regulatory and fiscal regimes that are different from the domestic economy.  There are 7 such zones earmarked in the country; Francistown, Gaborone, Lobatse, Palapye, Selibe Phikwe, Tuli Block and Pandamatenga. These would cater for the international diamond activities, specialized manufacturing, financial services, beef, leather and bio-gas as well as mineral beneficiation, coal value addition, mining supplies, services and logistics, integrated farming, agro business  and food processing.

 

Infrastructure Development:

 

9. The infrastructure development component of the ESP is divided between the Health Sector, Transport and Communication Sector, Education sector, Lands and Housing and local Government and is implemented by the relevant Ministries with the assistance of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology. The following are the projects that will be implemented under the relevant Ministries:

Lands and Housing:

 

10. Investment on serviced land and housing would create new business opportunities, ESP provides for:

 

• Accelerated land servicing of 37,000 commercial and residential plots beginning in the current financial year.

• Identify land banks for ease of allocation to different economic activities.

• Construction by Botswana Housing Corporation of 4,481 new residences, consisting of 2,194 units of public housing including 250 units reserved for youth, as well as another 2,287 projects delivered through SHHA.

• Refurbishment of another 500 existing pool houses.

 

Health Care Sector

 

• The upgrading of 92 health facilities; • Construction of new hospitals in Moshupa and Shakawe, and additional upgrading and improved maintenance in other facilities; and • Further construction of 534 new nurses’ quarters.

Transport and Communications Sector:

 

• Decongest traffic along the A1 highway through the construction of additional feed roads and bypasses • Prioritise the construction of access roads across the country to help stimulate local economic activities.

• Reserve computer maintenance and procurement, including 2nd level support operations to 100% citizen owned companies while providing an incentive for local assembly.

• Accelerate the upgrading of ICT systems across the country for the effective delivery of critical e-Services in such areas as health, education, doing business facilitation and immigration.

• Draw from the Universal Access Fund to fast track the extension of broadband connectivity to all villages of 5,000 or more, as well as to 1,293 schools.

 

Education and Skills Development:

 

11. To overcome the backlog of maintenance and new construction needed to ensure that all our schools are quality teaching environments, Government will in the coming year:

 

• Construct 1,153 new classrooms in the primary and secondary schools, along with an additional 175 science labs and 1,280 upgraded ablution facilities.

• Further construct 5885 new teacher’s quarters.

• Improved the maintenance of existing school facilities on an accelerated basis.

 

Re-skilling the Youth:

 

12. Focus will be on skilling youth who are neither employed nor undergoing some form of training to enhance their employability. Government has adopted “Target 20, 000 Initiative” for rapid skilling, up skilling and re-tooling of unemployed youth with relevant skills for the industry. Training will be in areas of agriculture, tourism, creative industries, ICT & infrastructure, health, entrepreneurship and vocational to meet the demands of today’s job market.

 

Local Government and Rural Development

 

13. The Ministry will construct an additional 401 classrooms, 1280 toilets and 486 teachers’ houses in 123 schools across all districts. There will also be 30 offices constructed for Customary Courts countrywide. The Ministry will also construct internal roads in Tutume, Gabane and Kang.

 

14. Following the announcement of the ESP, some good work has been done by the Ministries to prepare the ground for the programme to be delivered in the best way and achieve its intended outcomes. The major pre-occupation has been to address the impediments that have been facing project implementation in our country so that we don’t fall into the same trap of failure to implement an otherwise well-thought out and well-intended programme. These have been identified as: availability of resources such as water and electricity; the needed capacity both within Government and the private sector; the time taken to perform Environmental Impact Assessment (EIAs) for projects; the long procurement process; and facilitation of doing business through processing of work and residence permits and visas for external expertise.

 

15. In addition to addressing the above impediments, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) have come up with a toolbox to mitigate opportunities for corruption and ensure that the fast tracking process is not in any way construed or used to bypass the necessary checks and balances as well as oversight processes.

 

16. I am happy to state that the Expression of Interest for the first batch of Infrastructure projects has already been advertised, while a number of projects have already been awarded. The tendering process has been further simplified so as to accommodate all Batswana and also speed up the procurement process. This is illustrated by the Tuesday this week, construction procurement exercise by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology at Boipuso Hall in Gaborone, where multitudes attended to be part of this process. The Procurement process is done in a way that will ensure transparency and fairness for all. Citizen empowerment will be ensured through enforcing Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy and EDD compliance in all the awarded tenders.

 

17. Particular attention has been given to the geographical spread of the projects so that all sectors and regions of the country are impacted by this stimulus programme.   The expected impact is improved lives through health and education, growing diversified economy and increased levels of employment.

18. As part of our efforts to strengthen oversight on implementation, effective service delivery and improved project delivery countrywide, a Presidential Inspectorate Task Team composed of eminent citizens will be set up to among others, assess, monitor and make interventions that will assist in improving delivery of Government programmes and projects including ESP projects which are key in our road map to the country’s economic development initiative.  Our target is to have the Inspectorate start work from 1st March 2016.

 

19. In conclusion as the rest of the economy is catalysed through value chain industries and secondary industries, more demand for services will further create more employment. The efficiencies achieved in ESP will be passed to all other projects in the economy and through the coming National Development Plan. In this way, there will be a sustainable economic growth resulting in sustainable employment creation opportunities.

 

20. Let me now take this opportunity to declare THE ECONOMIC STIMULUS PROGRAMME  officially launched! Thank You PULA!!!

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