Plans to merge the Rural Industries Innovation Center (RIIC) and the Botswana Technology Centre (BOTEC) into a single unified research and innovation institution have been finalised, and the merging process is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010/11 financial year.
The rationalisation followed extensive studies and benchmarking excises which revealed duplication of activities between the two organisations, and deliberate policy initiative to create a critical mass of researchers in applied research and technology transfer as well as the need to ensure continuity between research and application.
Nkatla Morupisi, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST), pointed out that the decision to merge the two organisations was premised on a Cabinet Directive, CAB 37(B)/2009 to bring RIPCO and BOTEC under the MIST to harness identified existing synergies and strategic commonality between the two centres.
“It is envisaged that the rationalisation of the two organisations’ products and services will optimise the utilisation of resources and enhance potential for cost savings through effective service delivery,” explained Morupisi.
To achieve that, the Ministry has constituted a Task Force comprising its appointed officials and representatives of the MIST, PEEPA, RIPCO, BOTEC, Innovation Hub, and UB to oversee the implementation of this decision.
According to Morupisi, the Task Force, which will be chaired by the Deputy Permanent Secretary, MIST has been assigned an oversight role on all aspects of implementing the merger, was established to advice on and guides the modalities of the merger into a new entity.
In addition, the Task Force will be expected to establish a legal framework and strategic profile that will guide the operations of the new entity, as well as identify the suitable business model for implementing the merger in line with international best practice.
The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology will have the portfolio responsibility over the new entity.
Meanwhile, it has been indicated that during the course of integrating BOTEC and RIIC, services offered by the respective organizations to customers will continue as normal.
“Again, relationships with suppliers and other third parties will be maintained in accordance with existing agreements until such time as would be determined by further discussions, and relevant communication definitely reach all those concerned as well as the public in general,” concluded Morupisi.