Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

GABORONE — Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi has called upon the private sector to raise the productivity levels of their companies so as to stem inflation.

Masisi made the call on Tuesday in his address during the official opening of the 16th National Business Conference (NBC) in Francistown, Botswana’s second-largest city.

He said the southern African country’s government cannot fight inflation alone. 

Organized by Botswana’s business apex body, Business Botswana, the NBC is a biannual forum that serves as a promotional platform for a prioritized public-private sector dialogue, which has been taking place regularly since its inception in 1988. 

“An environment of high productivity, low and stable inflation would pave the way for us to achieve a high-income status,” said Masisi.

Productivity is after all important to get Botswana’s economy growing at a very high rate, according to Masisi.

The conference was held under the theme “Road Map to High income – Accelerating Transformation,” which Masisi said is relevant because it is inspired by the southern African country’s National Vision 2036.

Vision 2036 is Botswana’s transformational agenda that defines the southern African country’s aspirations and goals, which was launched in 2016 following extensive consultations with citizens of Botswana. 

“We need to get the economy on a path of high economic growth to create jobs for our citizens, particularly the youth who constitute 60 percent of our population,” stressed Masisi.

Masisi said there has been a rise in the cost of living which saw inflation in Botswana reaching 14.6 percent in August, the highest rate since December 2008 during which it was 13.7 percent.

This inflationary figure goes far beyond the Botswana central bank’s monetary policy of between 3 and 6 percent. 

In order to address the soaring inflation, the government in August reduced the rate of value-added tax (VAT) for six months, and it also zero-rated VAT on the supply of liquefied petroleum gas and cooking oil for six months.  – Xinhua