Botswana is bleeding cash, into the neighbouring South Africa courtesy of President Khama’s ill-advised policies. Tourism is a typical example, an ordinary Motswana can easily understand how our policies are bad for our economic growth.

Ppresident Seretse Khama Ian Khama. AFP PHOTO/MONIRUL BHUIYAN

Botswana is bleeding cash, into the neighbouring South Africa courtesy of President Khama’s ill-advised policies. Tourism is a typical example, an ordinary Motswana can easily understand how our policies are bad for our economic growth. Batswana are no longer supporting local tourism to the level they should because government under the leadership of Khama is prescribing how they should have fun. Foreigners who used to frequent Botswana from the region have also dried up in fear of policies that are in place, in-turn they have resorted to seek solace in South Africa.

Domestic tourism ought to be the bedrock of our economy but government has through many laws discouraged Batswana from touring Botswana. The alcohol levy and time restrictions on sale of liquor have had a negative impact on domestic tourism. No one in his right mind will want to spend high sums of money on alcohol when there is an alternative 30 minutes away. Travelling outside the country means Batswana spend money that was supposed to be spent in Botswana in a foreign country thereby denying Botswana businesses the much needed revenue. South Africa has become the second home of Batswana not by choice but by forces of market economies, imposed on them by the policies of the government of the day.

Running away, for holidays and combining them with shopping sprees, to South Africa extends the life of meagre middle income earnings as our trade laws are easily manipulated in favour of South African businesses. SA businesses in Botswana are a close knit cartel that ensure that no Motswana business penetrates the market, and our government turns a blind eye to enacting legislations to promote diversification in what can only be seen as malfeasance for being in cohorts with the South Africans. The lack of adequate policies smacks of a well-orchestrated plan to make sure that Batswana are left to run their traditional businesses (dimausu) and close them out of all franchises that originate outside the country. SA businesses master the art of collusion in Botswana and make sure that those in authority protect their interests to the detriment of the locals. From property to products they have made sure that ordinary Batswana are kept out of the economically. Batswana are capable of producing but it is of no use if their products end up in the rubbish bin because government is failing to protect them against their moneyed South African counterparts.

There was an outcry that our horticultural output is too low for our consumption and Batswana farmers stood up to produce. Unfortunately they ended up throwing their produce into rubbish bins because the chain stores controlled from South Africa won’t take or sell their produce. Chain stores always allude to obscure reasons when justifying their denial of doing business with the locals. Not only are farmers affected, almost the whole economy is held at ransom by the SA businesses in which most of the influential politicians are fronting for.

For your average local Motswana musician to be able to sell his/her music in a SA franchised store in Botswana, the store first has to get clearance from headquarters in SA and in most cases they don’t get the go ahead to sell local music in these franchises. Locals are marginalised by SA franchises forcing them to quit the businesses they are doing, so as to empower SA businesses.

All of this is happening in plain sight and our government is blind to see or choses to simply ignore the reality that its citizens are challenged by. Unless government stop its policies that favour SA and its own select elite, over Batswana this country will never in the future achieve its economic goals. SA’s power economy is curbing Botswana’s industrialization in a well-orchestrated manner that makes our leaders think that we can’t survive without them. Protecting Batswana business from multinational SA companies will propel our economic growth and make Botswana self-sufficient.

Majube covers the economy and public finance. He also manages production. He has worked in various publications in the last ten years, Specialising in Business and Features. He has held the position of Desk Editor at the weekly the Echo, and most recently was part of the award winning Business team at Mmegi. In recent times Majube has covered the liquidity challenges of the financial sector as well as the Bank of Botswana’s oversight role in the banking sector.