Botswana Congress Party President Dumelang Saleshando has said the country’s economy remains over reliant on diamonds which are losing their sparkle.
Saleshando made these remarks while officially opening the party’s national congress at Makhubu Junior Secondary School in Selibi-Phikwe over the weekend.
“Our economy remains foreign dominated with all major infrastructural projects being undertaken by foreign owned companies,” observed Saleshando.
The key problem that citizens of Botswana face as a nation is unemployment, particularly among the youths, he said.
“Wages in Botswana are low and many hard working people are unable to afford the basic necessities of life,”the BCP president said.
It is against this backdrop that once in government, the BCP will pursue a different economic strategy based on creating opportunities for all citizens, transforming the economic base by placing citizen involvement at the centre of their plan and promoting employment creation.
“We will introduce legislation on citizen economic empowerment.
Our economic strategy will be based on engagement of all the key players in wealth creation.
The BCP will pursue processing and beneficiation as an economic strategy for job creation at the same time prioritizing the export of semi-finished as well as finished goods to the international markets and for local consumption,” said Saleshando.
Amid thunderous applause, Saleshando added that the export of raw materials amounts to exporting jobs thereby disempowering Batswana.
He also revealed that the BCP government would introduce a living wage as opposed to the current minimum wage.
“The living wage will allow all working people to earn a wage that is aligned to the cost of living and therefore allow all working people to lead a dignified life,” he said.
Meanwhile at the elective Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress in Maun, President Ian Khama said that the country’s economy is ailing amid long periods of economic uncertainty globally.
“We are facing a number of challenges from the limited supply of fresh water due to infrequent rains and drought, foot and mouth disease, current power shortages and government revenues which continue to be under severe strain since the global economic downturn in 2008,” said Khama.
In 2008, the world plunged into a financial recession. The world credit crunch resulted in the limited revenue for Botswana, as diamonds were now deemed luxury goods on the global market with many countries adopting a shoe-string budget approach.