Botswana: Local Companies Dissapoint Olopeng

| February 24, 2016

By Omphile Ntakhwana

Gaborone - Most local companies that tendered to supply products and services for the 50th independence celebrations have quoted exorbitant prices, says the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture.

Speaking at a press briefing on the progress made regarding preparations for the country's golden jubilee celebrations, Mr Thapelo Olopeng said the response by most locals came back with exorbitant prices that have made it impossible for them to agree with the price.

"We are trying to empower our people, and I made it very clear that we have to empower locals when it comes to procuring services and products, but I am very disappointed with the behaviour of most of the local entities that responded. How do we move forward from this because come rain or sunshine, we are going to celebrate this independence," he said, adding that if need be, he would instruct his team to procure from outside the country.

"Take for example the material that we use to make our flags. One piece of it is P300 and if you get two to make a proper standard size flag it is P600, but you have people quoting P5 000 each flag to supply them to us.

That is ridiculous and people need to remember that I come from the private sector and you cannot cheat me, so I will not allow such," he said. He noted that some people have the tendency of over-charging when it comes to tenders floated by the government.

"This tendency of over-pricing works put out by the government needs to stop once and for all and I have already scrapped some of the tenders because we cannot allow some people to milk the government dry," said Mr Olopeng, adding that he was confused as to whether the over-pricing was a way of people saying they were not interested.

Mr Olopeng further said he has always believed local companies have the capability of doing most of the works, but was saddened by the lack of professionalism and people trying to make a quick buck.

"The Electronic Music Festival stirred a caused a lot of friction and I honestly did not want a repeat of what transpired last year, but if our own people are doing this, what is the way forward for us?" asked the minister.

He, however, promised that he would take the necessary decisions and actions to ensure that Batswana celebrate 50 years of independence freely and satisfactorily.

Speaking on some of the risks and challenges they were facing, he said the renovations that were ongoing at the National Stadium pose a risk.

"It is a risk at the moment, but I have been assured along with the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology by the contractor that the renovations will be done by August," he said.

He further said the other challenge they were facing was the cleanliness of Gaborone.

"Gaborone is not clean and I have appealed to council officials to rectify that because it will not be proper to celebrate such a milestone in a dirty city," said Mr Olopeng.

He said Batswana would be impressed with what the Botswana50 organising committee was planning for the country, and that they should be supported with suggestions and encouragement.

Source: BOPA

Category: Human Rights

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