In an effort to declare itself as a pure and corrupt free funding institution , the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency(CEDA) launched a branch named “Tip offs Anonymous” last week in Francistown. Addressing the participants at the Customer Service Forum held in Thapama hotel, the Chief Executive Officer of CEDA, Dr Thapelo Matsheka informed the clients that CEDA was client oriented therefore the institution found it imperative that it embarks much on transparency as a way of displaying trust and openness to customers. Dr Matsheka indicated that Tips off Anonymous was geared at making sure that clients had access of reporting any malpractices or corruption scams by any of the CEDA officials to the department or the government.
We decided to make an outlet for customers were they can give the officials some information relating to the abuse of power, fraud, bribery or corruption by any of the CEDA officials,” Dr Matsheka said.
He added that the branch would work hand in hand with the Department of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), together with an international firm named Delloite and Touche which is an independent auditing firm. Dr Matsheka pointed out that coming up with such an initiative showed that as CEDA, just like any organization they must be investigated of malpractices and corruption. He further explained that they were prompted to come up with such a stratergy as a way of encouraging good governance in the country.
“We engaged a reputable independent auditing firm which will work hand with this branch to keep an ear in any of the public tips,” he said.
Dr Matsheka went further to establish that this branch operated 24 hours a day, the all the queries would be made anonymously in almost every African language one pleases to use to the call agents in place. He assured clients that the agents who will be receiving such tip-offs will by under a vigilant eye of strict conditions not to leak out any information from the sources.
“As CEDA we want to be judged by our standards and we want to embark on correct and ethical behavior,” remarked Dr Matsheka.
He indicated that it was possible that CEDA employees could abuse CEDA property which he stressed as undesirable and unethical. Dr Matsheka reinforced that CEDA was owned by the whole nation therefore it was a national property.
However Dr Matsheka went further to highlight that holding a customer service forum was a sign that CEDA was customer oriented funding institution and it was an opportunity for the institution to measure its service delivery to the clients. He indicated that without such forums in place, CEDA would not be able to get feedback about its service from clients. He established that the institution has found it very crucial to break down its portfolio to make sure that different CEDA officers are delegated with different sectors or projects to specialize in. He elaborated that it would be easier for the clients to get the information they deserve so as to make it easier and better service.
“We divided our officers into different sectors as it has been a challenge for a single officer to give information to different clients on different projects,” Dr Matsheka said.
He mentioned that some officers were trained to specialize in fields like manufacturing and Property so as to assist those clients who propose businesses into those fields. He gave example of the Agriculture sector in which some officers were trained in that area, to be able to deal better with agricultural business proposals to ease the service delivery to clients.
He stated that such an initiative was a result of the challenges he encountered when he became a Board Director of CEDA in 2001. He revealed that at the time the institution was perceived as poor in service delivery and this was causing a concern. Dr Matsheka added that he was once reported to his superiors in government and realized there was need for a strategic plan to enhance service delivery and to better information access to customers.
“When the organization started people were probing government for CEDA to approve their proposals, and it led to funding of projects without a well structured plan and monitoring,” he said.
He indicated that some funded projects at the time collapsed and some clients were in arrears and CEDA also suffered a huge blow with people failing to pay back loans.
“In 2003 when I became the Chief Executive Officer of CEDA, I decided to build a good structure for good monitoring of loans and also built a well capacitated staff to serve customers well and deal efficiently with clients proposals, “said Dr Matsheka.