Thursday, April 22, 2021

Mohohlo back in the pound seat

Hardly few weeks after her retirement from the central bank job, the former Bank of Botswana Governor Linah Mohohlo has landed a new job at the government enclave.

President Ian Khama is said to have last week appointed Mohohlo the coordinator of the Selebi Phikwe economic revitalisation/recovery program. Mohohlo’s new pay cheque is believed to have been scaled along the lines of most parastatal CEOs and permanent secretaries.

Although by closure of business on Friday it was not clear on the exact role that Mohohlo will be playing, the government confirmed that she will be based at the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry. The Ministry also houses the Selebi Phikwe Diversification Unit (SPEDU) which was set up in 2008.

The unit was established following a study on Selebi Phikwe town’s economic diversification that was commissioned through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning with funding from the European Union. The study recommended the establishment of a diversification unit to spearhead the implementation of the regeneration programme proposed for Selebi Phikwe. Afterwards, SPEDU was established as a regional economic development agency in 2008 through a presidential directive. Its functions are to manage the diversification programme; identify projects and progress them to potential investors; work with existing project promoters and with government in respect of public sector projects; help promote and enhance the image of Selebi Phikwe and identify and secure outside technical assistance to carry out feasibility studies and other specialised tasks.

On Thursday, Permanent Secretary at the Office of the President Carter Morupisi confirmed the appointment of Mohohlo’s appointment but could not shed much light on her new role which economic experts believe that might clash with that of the Chief Executive Officer of SPEDU.

“His Excellency trusts that with her unparalleled immense experience in the financial and economic fields, Mrs. Mohohlo will greatly contribute to the economic recovery of Selebi Phikwe.”, reads part of Morupisi’s statement.

Mohohlo comes at a time when the BCL mine in Selebi Phikwe is set to be closed and about 6000 miners are to lose their jobs. The mine has been placed under voluntary liquidation until February 2017.

The appointment also follows the decision by Business (BB) Botswana to set up a task team that is to look into the trouble bedevilling the township of Selebi Phikwe as a result of the imminent closure of the mine.

Amongst other things the task team is expected to receive both oral and written submissions on information that may be considered vital to guide a way forward and long term solutions for both the mines and Selebi Phikwe region. For close to a decade now the town of Selebi Phikwe has been gripped by lingering possibility of the BCL Mine closure which had brought questions on the long term viability of the town. BCL Mine is Selebi Phikwe’s mainstay.

The task team entails amongst them the former BCL GM Mphathi, Chambers of Mine CEO Charles Siwawa as well as former Botswana Accountancy College Executive Director Mike Lesolle. Also in the list is First National Bank Botswana’s rising star and economist, Moatlhodi Sebabole as well as Chief Executive Officer of the biggest pension fund, Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) Boitumelo Molefe.

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