Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Where are the “HUBS?”

A few years ago President Ian Khama in his State of the Nation Address launched to a great fanfare what he called economic hubs.

There were about six of them; Education hub, Diamond hub, Innovation hub, Tourism and others.

The hubs, while not clearly spelt out what their mandate would be and how they would be working in relation to existing ministries were supposed to be part of efforts to kick-start the economy.

More than half a decade later, not much is known about the hubs.

Many of the people sent from the public service to lead some of these hubs appear to be on nothing much more than semi retirement. Those officials are as we speak enjoying themselves and are not getting any scrutiny whatsoever on performance monitoring and the like.

The biggest problem with our leaders is that they never follow up their policy announcements.

This has cast a long shadow of public distrust on our political leaders.

It was never sufficiently explained to the public just what role the hubs will be playing.

And years down the line it has not surfaced in any of the speeches, least of all by the president how those Hubs are doing.

In the meantime millions of money continues to be spent on the hubs.

It is our hope that the hubs have not become employment bureaus providing jobs to pals of the system.
This is in no way to cast aspersions on the hubs.

Rather it is to remind ourselves that what was at inception passed as a great innovation by the current administration seems not to have taken off or it has possibly collapsed without those in charge recognising it.

We call on government to do an audit of the hubs and also to provide the public with an honest and transparent account of what each of the hubs have achieved thus far.

This will form a basis for policy evaluation and to also provide an account to the true worth that the hubs have been to the country since they were introduced.

To public policy thinkers, such an evaluation might also provide an opportunity of what changes might be introduced to make the hubs achieve exactly what they were meant to do.

It cannot be right to limp on with the hubs until a new administration comes into place and then abruptly closes them down because the hubs are not able to justify themselves in the eyes of those that took no part in creating them.

But under the prevailing circumstances we would be hard pressed to believe that a new administration would be able to justify the usefulness of the hubs.

This is because it is not clear even among many in government just what these hubs are expected to achieve.
To some the hubs are nothing but part of empire building by those in power.

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