Monday, May 17, 2021

Insecurities are behind government decision to close out the private sector in Covid vaccines

Questions have been asked just what could be driving government decision to deny the private sector a role in the fight against Covid-19.

The answer is simple. Government is going for glory. And in their little world, they do not want to share that glory with the private sector.

At the heart of it all is the big insecurities among the key people in government.

This seeps into all their decision-making processes.

Botswana government is building a tower of lies that will crumble under their feet.

When the State of Emergency was first announced and Covid-19 Task Force went into full steam, one of the first and most glaring concerns was that the private sector had been left out.

Beside the pledges as solicited by the President at the time, there was little role for the private sector.

That is unfortunate.

There is a lot of talent in the private sector, especially on issues of logistics, purchasing and procurement.

Government should use such skills, especially when they are available for free.

The country belongs to all of Batswana, not to government.

The confusion is not diminished by government’s multiple and ever shifting answers on key questions surrounding Covid-19 as the fight goes to other frontiers.

Emphasis has now shifted to vaccine, which Botswana government has handled in a ham-fisted way.

Batswana are dying in growing numbers and we have a government that does not want to receive assistance from its own people.

There is simply no transparency.

Information on just where Botswana government is expecting is doses has not been forthcoming.

How many are those doses and also of what brands?

Questions surrounding vaccine purchase started with Botswana Tourism Organisation announcing that it had tried in vain to help coordinate the purchase of vaccines on behalf of the tourism sector.

BTO, it must be stated is a wholly government owned entity.

BTO has presided over the meltdown of a tourism that was once the envy of the world.

We can only hope that when the recovery happens, BTO, which has no CEO at the moment will emerge more ambitious in its outlook.

Why BTO was denied an opportunity to crowd resources from the sector and help government can only be attributed to insanity.

As an aside, for all the bad things that covid-19 has done to tourism in Botswana, BTO should be proud that it helped kickstart domestic tourism during the pandemic.

BTO should never allow domestic tourism to go into the backburners again.

In fact it should have a department wholly dedicated to domestic tourism.

Back to vaccine politics; It is not a secret that some commercial banks and mining houses had identified a willing seller of vaccine in Canada.

The only requirement from the seller was that the deal had to be done at government level – between the governments of Canada and that of Botswana.

When private businesses recently approached Botswana government with the details of a near deal they were about to seal with the Canadians, they were moved from pillar to post, with ever shifting answers.

What is most annoying is that the companies were not seeking any money from government.

They were also not seeking the vaccine to be used exclusively by their employees.

Unlike what we saw last week when a ruling party big shot was acting like the vaccine administrator, these companies were saying the Ministry of Health would be the official administrator of the vaccine sourced from Canada.

Still there were no takers in government.

Botswana economy is on a meltdown.

Vaccines can stem the tide.

And the private sector should be facilitated to become a partner.

Stonewalling the private sector is a very foolish decision by those in government, not least because the private sector is using private money, not public money.

Botswana government has shown shocking ineptitude.

It also has a very bad attitude towards collaboration.

In the meantime vaccine rollout has been chaos.

Now all vaccination in the country has stopped because the country has run out of all vaccines.

And still the private sector is waiting to be get its offer to help accepted by those in power.

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