CEDA Chief Executive Officer Thapelo Matsheka this week praised the relocation of his corporation from the Ministry of Finance to that of Trade and Industry, saying that it will be beneficial to small and medium enterprises as it comes at time when they are lobbying for their engagement in the national economy.
In a move aimed at facilitating business growth in the country, government recently shifted CEDA’s reporting structure to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, headed by former finance minister Baledzi Gaolathe.
Since its establishment in 2001, CEDA has been under the ambit of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
“it is good that government decided to relocate us to the Ministry of Trade and Industry because it deals with empowerment issues, such that it is they interest (us) more than any other ministry”, he added.
Matsheka revealed that looking at the advocacy that his agency does, they have been moving from one ministry to another and advised that citizen economic empowerment initiatives should be centralised at MTI.
“We think reporting to MTI, though belated, is welcome”, said Matsheka.
Currently CEDA is negotiating for a fair deal on procuring authorities to support the funded projects in the absence of supporting legislation like empowerment law that will compel South African companies to buy locally.
The issue of citizen economic empowerment is still a thorny one and the argument is that smaller companies should benefit government tenders.
“It is not enough for companies to say that local produce is not good….citizen economic empowerment still remains unresolved”.
Last year former cabinet minister and top businessman David Magang challenged government that it was not enough to set up CEDA, LEA although the two programmes marked a shift towards empowerment.
Other new empowerment initiatives include the review of PPAD Act, Local Government Procurement Act of 2008, review of Tourism Law and the creation of Competition Law that might provide opportunity for Batswana companies to participate in the economy.
“The renewed call on Government Agencies to procure 100% of goods and services from local companies is welcome; however, the benefits can only be derived from effective implementation and monitoring as well as support from the private sector”, stated Magang.
“Evidently more needs to be done. Most of the South African owned companies have empowerment programmes in that country that are designed to assist small businesses to participate in their procurement; such programmes could be extended to locally based citizen companies relying on the experience from South Africa.”
Matsheka revealed that their advocacy for small businesses is ongoing adding the aim is to have a SME friendly environment.
“There are a host of issues that need to be paid attention to. The MTI decision will help us”.