The Head of Business Unit at PPC Botswana, Tuelo Botlhole, believes that forging a concrete partnership between the private and the public sectors can revive and create employment in the country’s current state of economic uncertainty and social challenges.
In an interview, Botlhole – who is an outspoken exponent of Public-Private Partnership – called on policymakers to prioritise local entities for national projects in return for increased employment and net growth in the private sector.
This is because Botswana’s high rate of unemployment is a chronic issue of concern that by far preceded the onset of the COVID- 19 pandemic that has certainly exacerbated the situation.
“It is time we as industry captains came together to map a way of how we can solve this unemployment issue which has been building up for years and is now heightened especially due to COVID- 19,” Botlhole said. “What we can do as the private sector is to come up with packages and insights that would enable creation of employment across industries. At the same time, the government can devise policies to stop a number of imports and curb product dumping so that we produce various goods locally.”
He pointed out that indigenisation plays a critical role in creation of employment and economic viability. Private sector players should therefore make it a priority to work closely with local suppliers on every level of production to create downstream beneficiation.
To that end, policymakers should become strict in regulating such initiatives because indigenisation is a vital cog in developing a country’s economy. Botlhole gave the example of how PPC Botswana has engaged with the local truck association for giving transport and logistics jobs to its members.
He noted that PPC Botswana has empowered a number of local community projects across the country over the years, giving them a boost to become fully operational businesses that have created jobs in their communities.
“In our industry, local cement manufacturers are looking to maximise use of local raw materials such as fly ash from Morupule, thus empowering everyone along the value chain,” Botlhole said. “If imported cement is cut off, we will see a huge increase in employment. This model is a partnership that works.”