Thursday, July 18, 2024

Parliament questions delay in merging BOTEC, RIPCO

The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology has been advised to explain the delay of the merger of the Botswana Technology Centre and the Rural Industries Promotions Company after parliament long sanctioned the merger of the two institutions.

This came after the government announced last week that it intends to set aside 2 percent of the Growth Domestic Product in 2016 as an incentive to promote research and technology development.
Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Johnny Swartz, informed parliament about the move when presenting the revised National Policy on Research, Science, Technology and Innovation.
However Palapye MP, Master Goya, expressed disappointment over the RIPCO and BOTEC merger.

The legislator informed parliament that it was disappointing that the two institutions’ merger was still dragging behind though parliament had long sanctioned the merger.

Goya stated that it is evident that the delay of the RIPCO and BOTEC merger was as a result of the two institutions board members who are delaying the process amid fears that they will not be absorbed after the merger.

He called on the Minister to appoint a new Chief Executive Officer who will be tasked with the responsibility of making sure that the merger of the entities takes place.

The legislator also indicated that the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer will be able to speed up the merger of the two institutions.

Swartz indicated in an interview that the delay was due to a study that was carried on the merging of the two institutions.

The Minister indicated that their intention is to make sure that the two institutions move away from the social welfare responsibility, adding that the core business of the institutions that will be merged will focus on bankable ideas that will be sold to investors.

Swartz stated that they have already engaged a Human Resources company that will be tasked with issues relating to employment.

He said that the HR company is currently designing plans on how the employees of the two institutions will be absorbed in the newly established entity.

The decision to merger came about as a result of a Cabinet directive which proposed for the merger after it was found that the two institutions were duplicating responsibilities.

RIPCO aims to promote industrial development and techno-preneurship through research, while BOTEC is a research and technology organization.

Commenting on the policy, Tati West MP, Charles Tibone, also hailed the move stating that it would help in the quest to grow the economy. Tibone indicated that there was no economy that can be developed unless underpinned by research.

The MP advised the Minister to revamp the existing research infrastructure to pave way for the research and innovation. He said that Botswana has lost opportunities in the past due to lack of research and decried the lack of support in the past that frustrated research development in the country.

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