Recently, the Bank of Botswana (BoB) announced the retirement of the Governor Linah Mohohlo on October 20, 2016. It is not clear from the BoB’s succession plan as well as from the government appointing authority’s side who will replace Mohohlo. Sunday Standard Reporter KABELO SEITSHIRO speaks to University of Botswana (UB) Public Finance expert, Professor Emmanuel Botlhale on the ramifications after the good lady.
Department of Political and Administrative Studies Professor Emmanuel Botlhale is of the view that the Bank of Botswana (BOB) has acted correctly when the economy was overheating by raising the bank rate and lowering the rates, adding that the rate is at a historic level as of now.
He said over the past 20 years, the BoB, in concert with other institutions, particularly the Treasury, have steered the economy in the right direction.
“Among the primary functions of a central bank is the formulation and implementation of monetary policy mainly, through the control of the nation’s money supply and interest rates,” said Botlhale.
He further said that together with the Treasury, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the BoB is charged with the steering of the economy. He added that given the dire state of the economy as evidenced by the tight fiscal envelope, these two institutions have their jobs of work cut out for them. He said they needed to keep their fingers on the pulse of the economy and act and respond accordingly.
“Institutions matter more than individuals and the former outlives the latter. Hence, in my mind, the change of leadership at the BoB should not be a cause of concern because the leadership change is tantamount to the handing over of a baton to another runner. The runner is expected to run the same race,” he stated.
Botlhale said there would be no fundamental changes to the direction and flow of the run that is the strategy of the BoB when somebody takes over.
He spoke of Industrial Policies (IPs), which he said are meant to promote productivity-based growth and, thus, deliver real economic growth and eco-transformation.
He observed that economic growth and transformation, as in lack of eco-diversification are challenges in Botswana, adding that there was a need to review existing IPs with a view to review them to stimulate eco-growth and transformation.
“I have not interacted with the outgoing BoB Governor at a personal level. However, based on what I have read, there have not been issues of corporate governance at the BoB,” said Botlhale.
He said it could be deduced that her management style was within the bounds of good corporate governance. He further pointed out that each manager had a personal stamp on authority.
“My advice to the successor is that while putting a personal stamp on authority, he or she must do so within bounds of good governance and, vitally, he or she be a transformational leader to take the BoB to the next level,” he
The UB Pubic Finance expert, Department of Political and Administrative Studies (Academic) is of the view that it is an established fact that Botswana’s bureaucracy possesses one of the major characteristics of a Weberian ideal bureaucracy regarding the appointment of staff on the basis of qualification and experience.
He added that the bureaucrats were meritoriously appointed unlike in some countries, for instance South Africa, where there was cadre deployment.
“The appointment of the BoB governor, like any other officer, is merit-based. This is meant to promote professionalism,” said Botlhale.