The Selebi Phikwe business community has given thumbs up to the budget proposals for the financial year 2016/2017.
However, they expressed concern that some features of the economy such as engineering and agriculture sectors could have been given more focus this financial year.
They expressed their views during a budget review breakfast meeting organised by Stanbic Bank at Bosele Hotel on Tuesday.
Speakers at the meeting included Business Botswana northern region chairperson, Mr Palalani Moitlhobogi who gave a review on the budget. Dr Jonah Tlhalefang, an economist with the University of Botswana, gave an analysis on the budget while Mr Crag Granville, Stanbic Bank board chairperson and ACCPRO accountants managing director, as well as SPEDU chief executive officer, Dr Mokubung Mokubung also presented.
Giving comments, local businessman, Mr Mogae Ketshogile said little has been said about expanding the engineering sector, yet the economy revolved around the engineering sector.
He said for infrastructural development to take place, engineering formed the core basis of the projects. He also expressed concern about the engagement of foreign companies which import labour to pioneer local projects as having a negative impact on the economy.
He gave the example of the steel manufacturing plant in Selebi Phikwe, noting that the project was pioneered by expatriates yet local companies that have personnel with the skills and knowledge to do the project were left out.
This, he said, results in local companies that could create jobs for residents being left out, and funds that could be invested locally being transferred out of the country.
Another businessman, Mr Virender Marya said if the engineering sector could be looked at closely, there could be a lot of things done locally.
He said the local engineering sector was capable of making a lot of things that come from overseas.
He said there was enough skilled labour locally to do most of the jobs.
"All businesses should be transparent and all local companies should be given a chance to compete for this economy for it to flourish," he said.
Mr Alex Boxshall-Smith, who is also a businessman in Selebi Phikwe, shared the same views, noting that local businesses were left out in the economy and that the budget did not address the problem.
He gave an example of Pula Steel, noting that 80-90 per cent of the works were done outside the country, yet there were engineering companies locally that could do the job or given a role to play.
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