The occasion to present and spotlight Botswana’s private sector is a culmination of three decades long relationship between Business Botswana (formerly BOCCIM) and Grant Thornton from which the Private Business Growth Award initiative was invoked.
This was revealed on Thursday when the two entities addressed the media and expressed their vested interest in the award hence demonstrating the mutual regard to unlock the growth potential of private businesses in Botswana.
Although the private sector and the Government seem to work at opposite ends, ideally the two should work hand in hand. Dr Keith Jefferies, an Economist and Managing Director at Econsult Botswana, is party to this observation.
Jefferies recently spoke candidly at former Cabinet Minister, David Magang’s book launch that government does not understand the private sector and because it does not identify with what its role is it follows that that it does not trust it.
The supposed lack of trust between private sector and government does however explain the “blame-game” relationship that exists between the two. The private sector often accuses the government of its hovering and intrusive nature which denies private sector the space and opportunity to grow.
In an earlier interview following the 2015/16 budget speech presentation, Business Botswana President Lekwalo Mosienyane elucidated the nature of the relationship of private sector and government.
“There is no private sector that is not reliant on government expenditure. The difference with Botswana government is that it is paternalistic. Opportunities exist but government stifles private sector in that it creates a new company to create revenue streams for itself. This is what is meant by crowding out. Government has to offload services so as to create capacity for private sector.”
On the other hand, government will also want to throw back a stone at private sector by condemning it of lacking the muscle to provide services that it currently affords the general public.
On the sidelines, analysts say from this artificially misconceived relationship, the Private Business Growth award is a ripe focused light on private sector as it gives it the golden opportunity to unveil itself. It might perhaps follow that the extensive profiling of private business will open government’s eyes to the potential of private sector and its ability to play a meaningful role in the Economy.
The Private Business Growth Award is the first of its kind in Botswana but it does however borrow from the blueprint of this initiative which already exists in other countries. Grant Thornton is the common denominator in all the countries that the Award is conferred. The initiative is expected to ink itself with each consecutive year that will follow in the future.