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BE WANTS GOVT PLANS TO TACKLE TOPICAL ISSUES

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MBABANE – Business Eswatini (BE) has welcomed the prime minister’s (PM) inaugural statement with keen interest.

The BE management stated that it  has perused the policy statement by the PM Russell Mmiso Dlamini delivered last week. “We would like to congratulate him for issuing it in the shortest time possible. We would like to believe that the PM has been successful in his intentional attempt to hit all the right notes,” said BE. BE is a private sector business organisation acting as a bridge for cooperation between businesses, government and organised labour in efforts to help remove trade barriers, mobilise investment, foster a good environment for business and promote good practice in corporate governance and corporate citizenship.

In its reaction to the PM’s statement, the BE management stated that granted, as is the case with most high-level policy statements, the PM’s statement was no different as it was also patently scanty on detail. However, the private sector organisation stated that it had no doubt that the operational plans underpinning the PM’s vision would be rich in the details which matter the most. “In our first salvo, the private sector would be keen to know how government plans to tackle the topical issue of unemployment in the country; and in particular, how they aim to attract new investment projects necessary to create job opportunities,” said BE. The organisation mentioned that the issue of investment incentives would most definitely loom large in this conversation.

Overlooked

They said equally important, though sometimes overlooked, was the question of how government would leverage the existing investments in the country, not only from the retention aspect of the equation but from the point of view of encouraging them to expand so as to create more employment opportunities. The organisation added that there was no argument that the country was not creating jobs fast enough to handle the slew of job seekers out there and this was increasingly becoming a matter of grave concern despite everyone’s best efforts, including government’s. BE said then there was this urgent matter of government meeting, or not, its financial obligations. “By the looks of things, there will be a time when government is not in a position to know how much it owes local suppliers ostensibly due, in large part, to the apparent poor coordination between ministries and the treasury,” said BE.

The BE management further highlighted that a few months ago, the Ministry of Finance cleared all the liabilities they had on their desks amounting to a whopping E2.8 billion, but some suppliers were still complaining about non-payment. They said clearly, some invoices were kept by the ministries and not transmitted to the treasury for reasons unbeknownst to them.
BE highlighted that the PM also touched on the issue of ICT and as BE they think this was important as all economies begin to migrate to ICT as an economic enabler. “Equally, the 4th industrial revolution is now upon us and it behoves the country to stay ahead of the curve. Of particular interest to the private sector – and this is an urgent matter - is the cost of data which remains disproportionately high in the country,” added BE management. The private sector organisation said this matter has to be addressed as a matter of priority. Meanwhile BE is on record condemning all forms of corruption as corruption has been proven to cause poverty and undermine healthy competition. “We hope government will be intentional in addressing this scourge which undermines the country’s vision of transforming itself,” said BE.

Confidence

The BE management added that they have full confidence in the new government to turn the tide around and as such commit themselves as BE to a collaborative partnership approach as they work together towards the betterment of the economy. “His Majesty has declared this year a ‘Year of Turnaround’ and we believe that in order to help achieve this vision, social partners should constructively engage with one another and be sincerely constructive in doing so,” concluded BE management.

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Should exam questions be in both English and siSwati?