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Corporate governance leads to efficient parastatals

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Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) Board Chairman, Tally Tshekiso said there is a need for corporate governance to ensure that parastatals are run well and efficiently.

In his PEEPA 2015 annual report, Tshekiso said that a performance review of 15 commercial parastatals that was conducted during 2013/14 showed mixed results of performance with some parastatals achieving profitability, while others experienced major operating losses. “It is important to note that Corporate Governance is critical in ensuring that parastatals are run well and efficiently,” said Tshekiso.

According to the report, during the year 2013/14 seven parastatals recorded operating profits with the National Development Bank recording operating losses for the first time in number of years.

The loss was caused by the new banking system that was adopted during the period as well as the impairment of non-performing loans. Botswana Telecommunication Corporation Limited (BTCL) achieved lower results after the separation, which led to the formation of Botswana Fibre Network (BoFiNet).

The report also highlighted that Water Utilities’ (WUC) operating loss increased to P327 million in 2013/14 compared to P141 million in 2012/2013. These losses were mainly attributed to the challenges encountered as a result of the expanded mandate of WUC under the Water Sector Reforms. Air Botswana made an operating loss of P97 million in 2013/14 compared to a loss of P72 million in 2012/13.

Tshekiso said that PEEPA has developed a parastatal performance-monitoring tool aimed at enhancing shareholder Oversight over parastatals. “This tool will facilitate systematic monitoring of and reporting on parastatals performance. To enhance governance and promote good corporate principles, a number of parastatals have developed and adopted board Charters as one of their governance instruments,” said Tshekiso.

He added that a number of parastatals have drafted shareholder compacts and submitted them to their line ministries for finalisation. Furthermore Tshekiso said the implementation of the Public services Outsourcing Programme (PSOP) could not commence in 2014/15 due to budgetary constraints experienced by the procuring entities within ministries.

During the year PEEPA also carried out a review to determine the level at which ministries, government departments and local authorities have engaged the private sector in services approved for outsourcing since the PSOP started and other services that have potential for private sector participation.

A total of 138 contracts of outsourced services worth P761 million were awarded to the private sector during the financial year 2013/14.                                                                                                                       

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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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