Plans for the construction of a P240 million leather-works park in Lobatse, Botswana, have been cancelled due to lack of funds. Those behind the project had forecast the creation of 5,000 jobs.
The latest report of the Parliament Accounts Committee (PAC), chaired by Lobatse MP Nehemiah Modubule, observed that this decision was taken despite P4 billion in unused funds being returned to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning last year.
The report also noted that Minister of Trade and Industry Dorcus Makgato Malesu tried to bring the Lobatse leather-works park project through, only to be told that it was not part of the National Development Plan. She was also informed that there are no funds due to the recession and that no new projects could be taken on board.
The PAC observed that implementation of projects such as the Lobatse leather-works park could have gone a long way in addressing the country's high unemployment levels, criticising the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) as being "more of an academic exercise than reality".
"The growth in the economy is not visible, unemployment is on the rise, there is nothing visible on the ground that supports the growth of the economy," noted the PAC.