Sunday, March 7, 2021

BIDPA Professor punches holes in govt strategy on FMD

Efforts by the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) to curb Foot and Mouth Disease in Ngamiland have been seen to be too traditional and outmoded, which therefore means the situation will not be contained anytime soon, participants at the third National Competition Conference organised by Competition Authority in Maun were told.
Presenting on a topic entitled Beef Industry and competition on the case of Ngamiland, Professor Roman Grynberg of the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) condemned a decision by DVS to prohibit trade and movement of live animals here as he strongly believes the whole arrangement has done a lot more damage and has delayed progress as well.
He said there is an imperative need for DVS to build fences and vaccinate cattle in a way that will show advancement, failure at which they might be seen to be fighting a battle that will never be won.
He said Namibians in the Caprivi have moved to commodity based trade and are doing quite well, which should be the case with Botswana, adding unless the country through DVS starts benchmarking with their neighbors, then there might not be any progress but continued failure on their part. As if not enough, he said it is very disturbing also to learn that cattle exported to Zimbabwe from Ngamiland still find markets in other countries such as Angola while Botswana is too relaxed to contain the disease and penetrate markets, and instead dwell on repeating unconvincing suggestions which will never take the country anywhere.
“The approach here is too old-fashioned and do not show any sense of maturity on the part of those that directly deal with the containment of the disease. We have talked and advised, but nothing seems to change, let alone bear any compelling results,” Grynberg said.
“How then are we to achieve positive results if things are to remain the way they are now? And so I want to urge all of you here, particularly farmers to do what you can to help the situation because if you can’t trade as it is the case now, then you might not be able to compete, even amongst yourselves. You have rich areas in terms of pasture lands, but you have nothing to show from your blessings. Please ask DVS to reconsider its approach because currently it is not working. They also need to put in place proper measures to deal with FMD.”
Councilor Tapoloso Mosika said although cattle rearing is a mainstay of societies around Ngamiland, and for the fact that Batawana are gifted in terms of livestock ownership, the government’s intention to reclaim the entire district and automatically declare it a 100 percent tourism focal point is also clear.
Many a times, he said they have tried in vain as the district leadership to put pressure on DVS to revise the way they run their business.
Mosika also wanted clarity on the what influence Competition Authority as well as the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) well as the has on government, regarding incomplete and neglected government projects, citing as examples, the Francistown stadium as well as mismanagement at Morupule B.
In response, an economist Tshepo Sayed said they have a way of evaluating tenders at PPADB, adding that because they only deal with central government tenders, parastatals such as BPC always make own tendering methods, which therefore means the current turn of events at Morupule B are of no concern to them.
However he said with the dilapidated Francistown stadium, they have come to realize that quite a number of departments have a problem doing required specifications before the commencement of projects, which therefore always leads to them failing to manage such projects.
“Nevertheless just recently, PPADB embarked on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the US Embassy through collaboration with the George Washington University, which will see staff from government ministries and departments, amongst them Ministry of Mineral Energy and Water Resources, Department of Building and Engineering Services, as well as those from the ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, to mention but a few being trained so as to equip them with knowledge on how to address issues surrounding mismanagement of projects.”

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