FRANCISTOWN: Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu, is worried about citizens who claim that foreigners are taking their jobs whereas they fail to acquire necessary skills and qualifications that would be useful to the workforce.
The Minister said this during the Nortex Long Service Awards over the weekend. He said though some expatriates have patiently continued to transfer their skills to the locals, it is disheartening because the locals do not exert themselves to acquire these skills. Ultimately, the locals will claim that foreigners are taking their jobs whereas they are not ready to sustain the companies they work for. “Humility will help you to learn and mature to a point where one can even pursue their own business interests with the skills acquired from foreigners,” said Batshu.
He said locals have to understand that no economy will thrive without a blend of expatriates as they always bring what the hosts do not have. “Irrespective of how fast we want to localize, we cannot isolate ourselves from the international players in building the economy. Therefore, there is need to have expatriates among us at any given time,” emphasized Batshu.
However, squashing the perception that foreign investors are not investing in Botswana in large numbers due to demanding requirements of setting up a business, the Minister said the foreigners have to understand that it is not the intention of Government to frustrate them or chase them away, but it is rather the laws of the country. “It is not our intention as Government to frustrate foreign investors but it is rather how our laws operate. We still need these laws because they help us grow our economy,” he stated.
The Minister’s concerns came up after Nortex Managing Director, Mukesh Josh, decried that though they are willing to subscribe to the values of citizen empowerment, there is a serious shortfall in the textile industry especially in the specialized areas. “We have been engaging expatriates in these areas of need, nonetheless, your Ministry has tightened the screws and it is a hustle to get permits for these needed expatriates,” decried Mukesh, appealing to Government to waver other requirements for expatriates.