By Anastacia Sibanda, Botswana Daily News via AllAfrica
Chairperson of a parliamentary portfolio committee on wildlife, tourism, natural resources and climate change, Mr Polson Majaga, says the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Botswana’s two key economic sectors of mining and tourism.
Speaking at the committee’s public hearing in Gaborone on July 14, Mr Majaga said it was therefore appropriate to get first-hand information on the extent of the impact.
He said it was also important to call stakeholders in the energy, mining, wildlife conservation and tourism sectors in order to discuss amongst others, impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diamond sales, tourism businesses and the economy.
Mr Majaga said the committee would like to interrogate turn around strategies to ensure sustainable business continuity, as well as cross-examine current fuel crisis and turn-around strategies.
He said it would also be ideal for the captains of industry to come up with proposals to improve the economy.
On other issues, he said they were disturbed by the fact that the country’s conservation efforts continued to be undermined by rising poaching incidents and lately, the mysterious mortalities of elephants in the Okavango Delta.
Furthermore, Mr Majaga said wildlife and sound conservation practices remained Botswana’s key selling points for the tourism industry, hence concerns over poaching and elephant mortality.
“We also hear about massive job losses in this sector and it is in this committee’s interest to address these issues with a view to finding long lasting solutions,” he said.
Mr Majaga said the information they gathered through the public hearings would assist the committee to come up with a comprehensive report to be submitted to Parliament.
He said the report, with findings and recommendations that were informed by industry experience, would come handy.
“We have therefore extended invitations for submissions to various stakeholders under these sectors, including government ministries and departments so that we may develop a holistic picture of the state of affairs in the country,” he said.