Although government’s poverty eradication initiatives are in place and appreciated,there is a concern of gross abuse of such programmes, Gaborone Mayor Haskins Nkaigwa has said.
Addressing a full Gaborone City Council (GCC) session last week,Nkaigwa said alternative packages programme, which has clear guidelines on benefi ciation and amounts per project, has been extremely abused. “People are given money when they do not qualify. We do not seem to have control over the resources allocated to us and directives are fl owing everyday from central government to continue abusing public funds on this programme. People are given similar projects whilst residing in the same location,” he said.
For instance, he indicated that in the Bontleng area fi ve kiosks are lined in the same street with old ones. “How are they expected to sell? It comes as no surprise when some (benefi ciaries) end up consuming their stock and coming back to council for more funding. We cannot continue to operate like this as a country,” he added. The mayor urged his councillors to continue to lobby government to re-consider such programmes that are unsustainable. Still on the poverty eradication programme, through alternative packages, Nkaigwa said the procurement of equipment and materials for the programme are on-going with 310 benefi ciaries enrolled so far. “Already P10 million has been spent on both procurement of materials and equipment as well as training of benefi ciaries. We are, however, facing challenges in the implementation of the programme such as lack of operational spaces for the projects, market saturation and lack of commitment on the projects by some of the benefi ciaries,” he added.
One of the benefi ciaries of the programme operating a kiosk in Bontleng, Seiphemolo Mape, told Gazette Business in an interview that there is too much competition which at times discourages one from continuing to run the business. “I am foreseeing closure of my business in the near future because the profits are very low and yet I have to provide for my children. I might just have to look for formal employment and operate the business after work and during weekends,” she said.