An alarming trend has become evident at the Ministry of Energy, Minerals and Water Resources.
Ministry officers, many of whom are in top leadership positions, are leaving the department to join companies in the private sector.
Johannes Tsimako left his position as the manager of the National Geo Information Centre to become the Regional manager of the Canadian based mining company, Hana Mining.
The other key person who left a few years ago was Ribson Gabonowe who joined Boteti Mining, a subsidiary of UK-based Botswana Diamonds.
During an interview with the Sunday Standard, the Director of Mineral Affairs, Nchidzi Mmolwa, said that he blames Government’s inability to compete with private sector companies for the exodus of people in his Ministry.
He says that the main reason people leave is simply because the remuneration packages offered in the private sector outweigh those offered in the public sector.
Mmolawa rubbishes the suggestion that the departure of a person involved in granting licenses and leases to mining companies, as is the mandate of the Geological surveys department, in order to join one of these very private companies that may have benefitted from his decisions, could create a conflict of interest.
He says this because the process of granting these documents involves multiple people and the final decision is taken only by the Minister.
He admits that it is a concern that the Ministry may not always have someone of the same calibre to replace an officer who leaves the department, which may lead to a decline in delivery.
However, he says that it is a common challenge across government departments and says that there is simply no way that these departments can overcome the market forces that lure officers into joining the private sector.
He does hold that there is a coherent system to keep recruiting and training people who are competent to work in the department.