Although the government economic advisor Nick Cypionka is upbeat that at long last Botswana government could be on the verge of exorcising the poor implementation spectre that has haunted it for decades, a renowned businessman Sam Mpuchane does not share the same optimism.
At the Budget Breakfast Seminar organized by First National Bank, Mpuchane who is a former Permanent Secretary asked Cypionka what the basis for such a bubbly assessment could be when experience on the ground pointed otherwise.
Mpuchane reminded Cypionka that about ten years ago when government was drowning from poor project implementation, a high political figure in the form of Vice President Ian Khama was assigned to specifically deal with such a problem.
“But the problem is still with us today,” said Mpuchane.
Cypionka said a recent cabinet reshuffle by President Festus Mogae has created a new Ministry in the Office of State President responsible for implementation.
That ministry is led by veteran ruling party politician Daniel Kwelagobe.
But Mpuchane stood his ground that there is no way a lesser political figure would make it where his superior (Ian Khama) has failed.
“There is a totally new cast of people in the civil service now. The Permanent Secretary to the President Eric Molale is a persistent person and I am sure he is pushing for change,” insisted Cypionka.
About ten years ago President Mogae assigned Ian Khama to supervise all ministers and ministries to ensure project implementation.
While there has never been a forma brief on the extent of Khama’s success on his mission, the general feeling is that given the general backlog of national projects together with continuing project cost overruns, it would be a fair assessment that Ian Khama has failed.
The creation of a new ministry responsible for project implementation also plays in the hands of such an assessment.