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BY PATIENCE RADISOENG
The Botswana government urgently needs to start turning rhetoric into visible action if some of its economic policies such as the Citizen Economic Empowerment (CEE) are to start bearing fruits.
As it stands, many smaller companies in the country are handicapped by a lack of competitive intelligence and access to finance.
Osego Masego - director of Ozzy Entertainment suggests that the government has to direct the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) to exclude big companies from competing with SMMEs on some tenders.
He says by bringing SMEs into the fold and enabling them to see how procurement sees them, it might provide them with the type of insights that can help them grow faster.
Masego says senior government officials often encourage both public and private sectors to do business with SMEs but it is the same government departments and some SOEs that do not do enough business with SMEs.
He says tender requirements from the government enclave frequently make unrealistic demands from SMMEs, leaving them out of the game.
Masego’s company - Ozzy Entertainment is a youth owned multimedia company that deals with talent management and event organizing which includes graphic design photography as well as videography.
“Our biggest challenges include not being given a chance by the government or private sector to show that we are also capable of covering their cooperate events. Tenders are given to the same companies and this delay our growth as SMME’s,” Maseko said.
He says policies that are used to award tenders do not favor SMMEs. At time, companies like Ozzy Entertainment who looks up for tenders for survival do not even get feedback on what was not right about their submission. Masego says this lead to the same people who already know how to beat the system to always get the tenders.
The set-up has also led to a number of litigation by some aggrieved companies after public tenders. The PPADB 2017/2018 annual report infact reflect an increase of 246 complaints relating to adjudication and award of tenders. This is in comparison to the 153 handled in the previous financial year.
“Out of the 246 complaints received, 136 complaints were those lodged against Ministerial Tender Committees (MTCs) and District Administrative Tender Committees (DATCs) and subsequently addressed at that level whereas 4 complaints were lodged directly against the board, whereas 74 were brought before the board as appeals on MTCs and DATCs decisions and 12 were parastatals complaints while the remaining 20 fell under the ambit of the LAPAD Act and were therefore forwarded to the relevant authorities” a statement from the report read.
Given these figures, Masego say the government need to improve its time for tender and bid evaluations, and to prioritize the finalization of high-value tender awards within a minimum prescribed time frame as this will help grow industry from their angle.
Meanwhile Maseko stated that Ozzy Entertainment intends to keep growing its portfolio through organizing own events.
Currently the company is said to have been engaged in organizing Miss Earth Botswana 2019 pageant and previously have participated in working with Miss Phenomenal 2016, Miss Plus Size Botswana as well as Miss Global International.
“As the founder of the company I was inspired by my love for talent and events. As mentioned we started with talent management in 2012 which then expanded to events management. As a way of giving our artists exposure we had to start doing our own events. From there it led to the formation of the multimedia section which came to action from 2016 after working for a multimedia company and gained great experience in Photography and videography,” he said.