Kokorwe Underscores Importance of Beneficiation

| May 28, 2015

Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Gladys Kokorwe has urged the SADC region to increase revenue derived from natural resources.

Ms Kokorwe, who was officially opening a three-day meeting of Standing Committees of the SADC Parliamentary Forum (PF) in Phakalane yesterday (May 27), said the issue of beneficiation from natural resources must continue to be high on the agenda of SADC because the region had abundant natural resources.

In its previous meetings, the Committee on Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Infrastructure, bemoaned that most SADC countries failed to raise enough revenue from natural resources to ensure sustainable economic development though they were endowed with minerals and other resources.

The committee mainly blamed poor management of natural resources for this situation. Ms Kokorwe said it was important for the SADC PF to put in place laws and policies that would lead to the region and citizens benefiting.

“The benefit to citizens arising from natural resources is minimal in most countries. In this regard, the role of Parliamentarians in ensuring that relevant legislation is enacted and policies developed, and in overseeing implementation by the executive cannot be over-emphasised,” she said.

Further, Ms Kokorwe said it was sad to realise that most of the SADC countries are going to fail to attain the targets set under the Gender Protocol. She said the deadline for stipulated gender targets was approaching and countries were still lagging behind.

“I want to encourage members of the SADC PF Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Women Aancement amp Youth Development not to tire in their effort to ensure that the race towards meeting the objectives of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, which was endorsed in 2008 by regional Heads of State does not lose momentum,” she said.

Matters discussed at the meeting of the Standing Committees of SADC PF included natural resources revenue, gender responsive budgeting, and examination of criminalization of HIV exposure and transmission in the SADC region.

Countries that attended the meeting are Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Namibia.

In his remarks, the SADC PF treasurer, Mr Gary Nkombo from Zambia, expressed concern that it was taking too long for the region to transform the SADC PF into a regional parliament.

He said the SADC PF, which comprises of 14 parliaments in the region, was established in 1997 as a consultative forum with the ultimate aim of transforming it into a regional parliament with legislative powers.

“Regrettably, more than 18 years on the SADC PF is still just a regional parliamentary deliberative body and the SADC Regional Parliament is still to be established,” he said.

However, he said efforts have recently been made to ensure that this goal was achieved and 10 countries have debated and approved the establishment of SADC Regional Parliament, with Botswana being one of those countries.

Mr Nkombo said having a regional parliament would help to strengthen and facilitate effective implementation of regional policies and programmes.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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