Gaborone — Government efforts to enhance citizen empowerment are sometimes undermined by local contractors who front and misuse mobilisation fees.
This was said by the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Mr Mmusi Kgafela when updating the nation on the progress, successes and challenges of government projects on Tuesday.
Expressing concern about youth companies that fronted for foreign firms, he said it was surprising that while the name of a bidding enterprise indicated citizen ownership, the situation on site would be different.
Mr Kgafela revealed that the ministry was investigating causes of such unprincipled practices which contributed to Batswana losing well deserved tenders to foreigners.
He pointed out that government was committed to empower local construction companies through the awarding of tenders for building projects to create jobs for citizens.
To that end, he said, the ministry had adopted a strategy of unbundling mega projects to make it possible for more local companies to benefit as well as a reservation policy through which maintenance projects were reserved for Batswana.
The ministry had also reserved a 30 per cent quota in construction projects for youth companies, he said.
According to Minister Kgafela, the ministry desired to see the initiatives bearing fruit and enabling citizens to directly benefit from jobs created in projects financed by public funds.
“I wish to call upon all those involved, including the private sector, to work hand in hand with government to ensure that these initiatives achieve their intended objectives,” he said
Meanwhile, Mr Kgafela has outlined projects completed in the 2020/21 financial year.
He said they included Semolale Police Station and staff housing, Charleshill Revenue Office and staff housing, Hukuntsi Revenue Office and staff housing, Kang wildlife anti-poaching project, Tutume Independent Electoral Commission regional office and the Rakops Primary Hospital theatre.
The minister said 12 youth-owned companies were engaged by the private sector at a cost of P38 233 375 to augment government efforts of empowering young people in the construction industry.
Government alone had already engaged 52 companies which led to the creation of 2 142 jobs for the youth, he said.
Source : BOPA