Monday, December 6, 2021

Job losses loom at Debswana Pension Fund

The Debswana Pension Fund (DPF) is currently going through a restructuring and re-organisation exercise that will possibly lead to some members of staff being laid off. A statement from DPF indicates that the re-organization was triggered by a periodic strategy review that was conducted in 2013, which sought to assess the current state of the organisation.

DPF Principal Executive Officer (PEO), Gosego January told Sunday Standard in an interview that the exercise was meant to assess and determine the appropriateness of the Fund’s operational strategy relative to its size and value and further identify alternatives where appropriate. She added that the Fund will further consider its current operating model against leading practice, relevant benchmarks and gain key insights into new interventions that can help reduce the future cost base.

“At this point in time the Fund cannot confirm the number of employees who will likely be rationalised as the organisational structure review process is still on-going,” said January.

However, she said members of staff have always been kept abreast of milestones reached throughout the transformation process, adding that this will continue until the entire process is complete.

“The Board and management of DPF are fully committed to ensuring an efficient, fair and transparent transition process for all stakeholders concerned,” she said.

The DPF strategy review highlighted a number of deficiencies and irregularities in the Fund’s operations, chief among them the need to achieve operational efficiency, particularly with regard to automation of predominantly manual processes in some key functions. This would also reduce the Fund’s operating costs.

“There was a need to replace the current administration system with a more integrated platform over and above what the current system can provide,” January explained.

Another key requirement was for DPF to achieve further optimisation of its operational environment. The strategy review was concluded in 2014 after which plans for organisational transformation immediately began. This included putting in place a robust stakeholder engagement strategy and organisational change management plan, both of which are already in implementation.

“The procurement process for a new administration system has also been concluded and the project for implementation of the new administration system has been launched,” said January.

Having recognised the possibility of staff rationalisations that would arise from the re-organisation exercise, DPF has issued all of its 22 employees with notification letters for possible retrenchment. January said the relevant authorities have also been duly notified.

“During selection of employees into the new organisation, the priority for the Fund will be in line with point alignment of resources to the re-defined job roles as per the new operating model,” she said.

The DPF manages assets in excess of P5billion or USD 600 million for over 11,500 participating members, including pensioners, active and deferred members. The Fund is the second largest in the country with key investments in property, equity, bonds and short-term deposits.

Participating employers in the Fund include Debswana Pension Fund, Debswana Diamond Company (Pty) Ltd, Diamond Trading Company Botswana (Pty) Ltd, De Beers Botswana Holding Company (Pty) Ltd, Anglo Coal Botswana, and Morupule Coal Mine (Pty) Ltd and De Beers Global Sightholder Sales Botswana.

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