Partnerships Boost Councils

| January 22, 2015

Government is happy to see local authorities embarking on investment opportunities.

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Slumber Tsogwane said this at the 16th Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) national conference which closes today (January 22) in Francistown.

Minister Tsogwane said embarking on investment opportunities would see local authorities being able to generate their own income and in the process expand their revenue base.

Mr Tsogwane said the local authorities would not only generate income for themselves but would also bring about significant increase in employment opportunities and reduce poverty.

He noted that his ministry in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme , the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and BALA were working on a Local Economic Development (LEAD) framework. “Once this exercise is completed, it will assist districts to exploit local economic opportunities for sustainable development,” he said.

He said LED means increasing the local economy’s capacity to create wealth for local communities and in turn create employment opportunities. Concerning the partnership between Barclays and BALA, Mr Tsogwane said the private sector’s contribution to the socio-economic development of the country had not gone unnoticed.

He noted that government could not afford to develop the country without the active participation of other key players in the economy. Mr Tsogwane commended councils that had partnered with the private sector through various means such as the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) initiatives.

He cited the Southern and Kgatleng District councils as well as the Lobatse Town Council, which are already implementing PPP initiatives. He appealed to other councils to follow suit and explore investment opportunities in their respective districts.

Mr Tsogwane said PPPs had a potential to diversify Botswana’s economy and create jobs for Batswana, thereby reducing dependence on government safety nets.

BALA president, councillor Mpho Moruakgomo echoed the sentiment, arguing there was need for councils to be innovative in coming up with alternative sources of revenue to reduce over reliance on revenue from the government.

He said government contributed 98 per cent of the local authorities’ budget and the local authorities accounted for 60 per cent of the ministry’s budget, which raised a lot of concern with regards to the sustainability in terms of local government financing in Botswana.

Mr Moruakgomo said it had proven cumbersome for local authorities to rely on government for sustenance, looking at the fact that there were many competing national priorities. For his part, Barclays Bank chairperson, Mr Rizwan Desai said the bank set up a public sector division in order to improve its relationship with the public sector.

Barclays is keen to fund portfolio projects such as staff housing and bus stops amongst others for the councils, he said. The theme of the conference was ,Unlocking Investment Opportunities, Modernising Public Service Delivery.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

Comments are closed.