The private sector is a key driver for economic growth
GABORONE - The private sector promotes sustainable employment through domestic and foreign investment. The sector, according to Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr. Kenneth Matambo, is an essential vehicle for economic growth. Therefore, he said time is ripe for Botswana to chart a new course that would redirect private sector participation and give it a momentum in the delivery of public infrastructure and services.The minister was officiating at a consultative meeting on the draft privatization master plan II in Gaborone on Monday. Mr Matambo outlined some of the issues that the budget strategy paper for the 2012/2013 financial year discusses. Such issues include balancing the budget, which the minister said means reducing the size of government as a percentage of GDP and making most out of every Pula of public expenditure. The strategy paper, he said, indicates that government faces a challenge of declining revenues against growing expenditures for both recurrent and development programmes.
This, he said, calls for innovative strategies that would ensure increased private sector participation to augment government efforts for sustainable economic development. Strategies for achieving this, the minister said, do not only include focusing on high return government initiatives, but also creating space for private sector growth and continuing to build the necessary infrastructure through programmes such as public private partnerships.
For government to have adopted privatization policy in 2000, Mr Matambo said, signaled its commitment to economic reforms aimed at promoting competition, improving efficiency in the delivery of public services, increasing the productivity of public enterprises as well as reducing the financial and administrative costs of providing services. Some key elements of the policy include strengthening the role of the private sector in the provision of goods and services and reducing government's involvement in commercial activities that can be undertaken efficiently by the private sector.
As such, in 2005, government adopted the Privatization Master Plan, whose purpose was to identifying all public enterprises suitable for privatization.For his part, PEEPA board chairperson, Mr. Blackie Marole said privatization in Botswana has taken longer than anywhere else. He said the country is the only African economy, which is close to an apex-oriented economy with a significant participation of the private sector, but many countries have surpassed it with privatization exercises. It is, however, not too late to act as Botswana still stands a good chance to hike privatization as it is done in other countries because it has an advantage of learning from others' experience, he said. BOPA