Matome Appears Before PAC

| May 28, 2015

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, Ms Pearl Matome, says the common practice of issuing 200 citizenships a year will be revisited.

Presenting before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday (May 26) Ms Matome said certain countries required VISA to visit Botswana and hence they took them through vetting for security reasons of which in the end some are approved while some are declined.

She stated that in the year 2014, they received 22 000 work and residential applications of which 15 000 were approved. She said 45 per cent of the permits were issued to Zimbabweans, 13 per cent South Africans followed by India with 11 per cent, adding that among other nations issued permits are China and Zambia.

Ms Matome stated that they are aware that HATAB had presented their worry about the high rate at which VISAs are rejected which they had said cripples the tourism industry, but she said the ministry had asked HATAB to present statistics to show evidence of the people rejected.

She said the ministry engage with stakeholders like BOCCIM, BITC, Diamond Hub, DIS pertaining issues of permits and VISAs.

MS Matome said the ministry was allocated a recurrent budget of P403 million in the year 201314 of which P399 million was spent. She further highlighted that they collected P106 million from the issuing of work permits, immigration cards and passports.

The PAC committee emphasised with worry that the 200 permits issuance does not reflect right on Botswana as it may have negative implications on the country’s bilateral and foreign investment.

The panel said the restriction is worrying considering that Batswana marry foreign nationals and bear children and also investors and contractors come to Botswana for business.

Asked on what informs the decision to put people under VISA restriction list, Ms Matome said she does not have the answer and hence would engage with all relevant stakeholders to find out the reasons.

Responding on when the ministry would engage workers union like BOFEPUSO to sit on the Ministry HLCC where workers interests are discussed at a higher level, Ms Matome stated that they recently engaged with unions to see how they can engage them.

She admitted that the poor service delivery at Ramokgwebana border is worrying and hence assured the PAC panel that they would address the issue in two months. She said they are aware of the long queues, technical problems with the system, and the water crisis at the border which she said is a management problem.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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