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PPPs require careful planning, Nyamadzabo

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Government wants to first conduct due diligence before it enters into joint ventures with private companies, hence the delays in the implementation of Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs), says Dr. Taufila Nyamadzabo.

The Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance said government will not rush to implement the PPPs as it wants to safeguard the country’s interests. “There has been a slow pace in implementing PPPs and I think the major issue is how to guard the government interests in the process when implementing PPPs,” said Nyamadzabo.

He was addressing delegates during a budget review meeting organised by First National Bank Botswana. “It’s not that we just get money from the private sector but what we need to do is also to protect government interests when implementing PPP projects,” he said, adding that negotiations should also be done properly.

Another cause for delays in implementing PPPs is the lack of specialists in the area.“There has been also a problem in staffing the unit that is going to be responsible for PPPs,” he said.

Nyamadzabo however said the government has trained many people in the country to be involved in PPPs. He however revealed that government joint ventures with private companies were in the pipeline such as Morupule B to extend production by 300 megawatts.

Meanwhile Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo said the government approved the Strategy on Private Sector Participation in Land Servicing in April 2015. “Among the areas already identified for piloting the initiative include Gerald Estate Block 1 and Central Business District in Francistown, Kasane, Ramotswa, and Morwa/Bokaa area in Kgatleng District,” said the minister.

He said under this strategy, the private sector is expected to participate in land servicing. PPPs are complex contractual arrangement between the government and the private sector incorporating a specific time and risk sharing relationship.

The advantages of PPPs include risk sharing, accountability, innovation and best practice methodologies accompanied by clear monitoring and regulation.

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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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