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PPADB fights corruption in procurement

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 Batswana have been called upon to take an active part in fighting corruption in tenders by reporting suspicious conduct. Since December 2017, PPADB has received four tip off reports trough their Tip-off Anonymous Service; all of which are under investigation; Business trends has learnt. The service that was launched last year in July has a proven track record in preventing and fighting corruption. It is currently implemented through a third party, Deloitte. In an interaction with the media on Monday, the Executive Chairperson of PPADB, Bridget John said corruption thrives on secrecy.

“Through this service, we wish to make transparency and accountability recognised, key conditions for promoting integrity and preventing corruption in public procurement.” This whistle blowing policy, is viewed as key in public procurement to enable stakeholders to be able to report matters relating to improper, unethical and inappropriate conduct in tendering. Amongst other means of eliminating corruption talk, an Integrity Office is still being established to provide more focus on ethical conduct and come up with anti-corruption measures.

“Efforts are ongoing to identify a suitable candidate to head the office,” John highlighted. She further urged the media to encourage the public to use the service to report any unethical or inappropriate conduct in tenders by contractors, PPADB staff, and those holding public office. “Corruption perception in licensing and public contracts is becoming a major concern as per the Global Competitiveness Study and needs to be addressed,” she says, and further alludes that transparency, proper procurement planning, adherence to plans, and competitive bidding will go a long way in improving public confidence in tenders and reducing corruption perception. Amongst its yearly milestones, the IPMS (e-Bidding) is also slowly gaining momentum with up to 34 tenders processed online since inception last year.

“Uptake expected to increase in 2018 with more training and awareness building as well as system agility and availability. The e-Bidding roll out plan is expected to run for three years until all Procuring Entities are able to manage online bidding without much support. She noted one major challenge as internet connectivity, accessibility, and availability of suitable ICT infrastructure equipment which she says slows down the IPMS roll out. “PPADB is poised to become a high performing organisation that will more effectively facilitate value for money procurement for Botswana to realise its development goals,” John said.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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