Friday, December 4, 2020

Eleven parastatals to be merged ÔÇô Serame

Fresh information has surfaced that the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry is planning to merge 11 of the parastatals that it oversees and shares similar mandates with.

The ministry’s Permanent Secretary (PS) Peggy Serame confirmed the upcoming parastatals rationalisation exercise, adding that currently, modalities with stakeholders, including PEEPA are underway. She stated that it was expected that the detailed assessment would start during the 2017/18 financial year.

In an interview with Sunday Standard, Serame said the ministry was seriously considering a rationalisation of operations of its parastatals. 

The issue of rationalisation of the said parastatals was discussed during the Ministry’s Leadership Forum in April 2016. 

“The objective of the rationalisation is to ensure optimum utilisation of resources and to achieve reduction in public expenditure; reduce overlaps and duplications; and ensure effective and efficient service delivery system through synergies,” said Serame.

Serame stated that Cabinet approved it in August 2016. 

Serame revealed that PEEPA was engaged in 2016 to undertake a preliminary assessment of the mandates of the Parastatals. She stated that PEEPA’s assessment indicated that some of MITI’s Parastatals had overlapping mandates. 

She gave an example that they both promoted and attracted domestic and foreign direct investment. She said, on the other hand, some complemented each other in providing support to the business community and the private sector in general. 

 “We are unable to provide a list of parastatals that share similar mandates or that may be merged. It is also premature to have any views on possible job losses,” said Serame.

The industry’s 11 parastatals are Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), Botswana Trade Commission (BOTC), Competition Authority (CA), Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA), Gambling Authority (GA), Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) and SPEDU. The Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) is being established, and hence not fully operational.  

Serame observed that out of the 11 Parastatals some provide regulatory oversight, while others provide various business development and investment facilitation services. She said those that provide regulatory services are: Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS); Competition Authority (CA); Gambling Authority (GA); Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA); Botswana Trade Commission (BOTC) and Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA). 

“The other five parastatals provide business development and investment facilitation services,” she said.

Serame stated that the BDC promotes and economic development and provides financial assistance to investors; while BITC encourages export development and attracts domestic and foreign direct investment. 

She said SPEDU promotes regional economic development in the Selebi Phikwe area while LEA provides entrepreneurship development and mentoring for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME). She added that CEDA provides financial, training and mentoring for SMMEs.

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