Sunday, October 17, 2021

Ministry of Trade to lump some parastatals into one

Government is considering merging some of the parastatals within the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry’s 11 parastatals that share similar mandates.

This was revealed by the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry Peggy Serame confirming that PEEPA is in the process to recommend to the Ministry. 

PAC Member, Specially Elected Member of Parliament Bogolo Kenewendo had asked for clarification on the model and strategy that the ministry is considering in merging the overlapping roles.

“The Ministry is discussing implementation modalities with stakeholders, including PEEPA. She stated that it was expected that the process (detailed assessment) would start in 2017/18 financial year,” said Serame.

Serame explained that the Ministry observed that the mandates of some of the parastatals was converging and resulting in possible overlaps and duplication. She added that the Ministry considered rationalisation of its parastatals. 

She further stated that the issue of rationalisation of the Ministry parastatals was discussed during the Ministry’s Leadership Forum in April 2016, where it was resolved that there was need for rationalisation of the Ministry parastatals. 

Serame stated that in terms of roles, Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) which is currently hunting for a new CEO was likely to merge with Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) led by Dr Mokubung Mokubung. 

“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.

Asked if there was value for money from the operations of parastatals particularly BITC in terms of Foreign Direct Investment generated, Serame stated that she saw the need for this operations of these parastatals. She added that BITC in conjunction with SPEDU and Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) usually engage each other through investment forums. 

She said Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) is expected to reduce the turnaround time for approval of business plans for companies in the SPEDU region. 

“There is progress on the ground and a couple of ICT companies are setting up soon in Selibe Phikwe. CEDA had approved a few of loans recently and progress is at an advance stage,” said Serame.

In separate interview, Serame said the Ministry’s 11 parastatals, 10 are operational, while one is being established. Serame said the 10 operational 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.

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