By Ntokozo Nkambule
The Minister of Commerce Industry and Trade, Manqoba Khumalo has appealed to the business community to lobby and ensure that the Citizens Economic Empowerment Bill is passed into Law as it will empower local business people.
Speaking during the Vusumnotfo Expo 2023 at the Tums Waterworld Hotel Khumalo noted that the Bill seeks to promote the interests of local business people in a number of ways.
“The Citizens Economic Empowerment Bill seeks to promote local preferential procurement for emaSwati. A lot of government and parastatal procurement is still not in the hands of emaSwati. We have actually observed that a number of emaSwati are still fronting for foreigners, and this is not acceptable. The government does big infrastructure projects or big expenditure items, to get the economy running. So when we take this money and give it to foreigners we are just shooting ourselves in the foot,” he exasperated.
The Minister further noted that this Bill will make it illegal for the government to give procurement to certain people other than emaSwati. He urged business organizations such as the Federation of the Swaziland Business Community (FESBC), and others to put pressure on parliament and ensure that the Bill is passed into law.
“Passing of this Bill will foster joint ventures in lucrative sectors such as the mining sector. We will be having four or five big mining companies soon, and as a result, it is imperative that the Bill is passed. What we want to see is emaSwati participating in all levels, whether it is in maintenance contracts, trucking, suppliers, catering, or any stage of the business cycle. This Bill is meant to ensure that emaSwati have a share in the various sectors of the economy.”