- MPs ready to table motions for special grants
Backbenchers of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party have appealed to the government to establish a special social relief grant scheme for employees of the liquor industry.
Speaking in Parliament this week, the MP for Nata-Gweta, Paulson Majaga, said he has been planning to table an urgent motion calling for such allowances. “I have had a conversation on the matter with the minister responsible,” Majaga noted.
“It is my intention now to draft and table a motion before adjournment of this session because, for instance, where I come from most of the young people are in this sector and they have lost their livelihoods (because of the ban on alcohol).”
Majaga added that the matter should be addressed urgently because there are no indications that COVID-19 will slow down any time soon. “We have no choice but to assist these workers because the virus has intensified and that obviously means that liquor will continue to be banned,” he said. “The government should also devise new strategies for ensuring that liquor businesses stay afloat.”
The member for Gaborone Bonnington North, Christian Greeff, said the government should provide employees of the liquor industry with a living grant if their employers are unable to pay them. He also said he will consider tabling a motion to that effect. “If they are not paid, then it would be a good idea,” Greeff said. “Maybe we can consider putting a question without notice to the relevant minister.”
The MP for Thamaga-Kumakwane, Pabalelo Motaosane, will also consider a motion because many livelihoods have been affected by the ban on alcohol in his constituency. “It is worth proposing because livelihoods have been severely affected,” Motaosane said. “It is sensible to put a motion before Parliament.”
The government recently imposed a ban on the sale of liquor as a measure against rising COVID-19 infections and deaths. However, the country’s largest maker of beer, Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL), was soon warning of massive job cuts and loss of revenue that would affect its quantum of taxes to the government.
KBL demanded of President Mokgweetsi Masisi to provide scientific evidence linking the spate in COVID-19 infections and fatalities to alcohol.