Sunday, December 3, 2023

White collar ghosts plunder BTO while workers fear job losses

Employees of the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) are reportedly keeping their fingers crossed that they are not shown the door following the confirmation that the parastatal is undergoing a change of structure. 

This week, the Minister for Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, whose ministry oversees BTO, confirmed that the parastatal is currently carrying out a restructuring exercise. 

Khama further said that the exercise, which he said was almost complete would not increase BTO’s budget. It is also not clear how the restructuring is going to affect the other BTO points of service at regional and international offices.

The recent restructuring follows another one which was carried last year by the Board of Directors but was halted before completion. 

“The focus is also now on local development of tourism with its entities as well as externally,” said Khama.

Quizzed to shed more light on the new BTO structure, Khama stated that senior management positions at directors level was being changed to now being called manager executive. Khama could not hide his disappointment on BTO, adding that there was lack of productivity and service delivery within the parastatal. He further stated that he wanted hands-on employees.

“There are a lot of white collar individuals who are not fully applying themselves on duty and enjoying the organisation’s remuneration and other benefits,” said Khama.

Despite Khama’s views, information and speculation reaching this publication is rife that BTO employees are disgruntled by too much political interference in the daily affairs of the organisation for the benefit of few individuals.

Another casualty is the recent sudden and unexpected resignation of the BTO CEO Thabo Dithebe, which has plunged the already ailing tourism industry under a welter of further confusion and uncertainty. The situation at BTO is made worse by the fact that the parastatal does not have a Board of Directors.

Another subject matter within BTO which is likely to open a can of worms is the multi-million controversial plans to push to open BTO office in Dubai, which is budgeted to be around P17 million, without adequate research being conducted as a well as contacting the tourism industry players in the country.

Meanwhile, the parastatal is expected to appear tomorrow morning before the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies this coming week. The eight-member committee chaired by Tati East Member of Parliament (MP) Guma Moyo, examines books of accounts of parastatals. In the examination of these bodies, the committee takes into account the report of the Auditor General executed pursuant to statutory provisions, and the audit reports of duly appointed external auditors, and management.


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