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Jefferis urges govt. to invest in human capital budget

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Government has been urged to invest money in human capital rather than on infrastructure projects.

Speaking at the Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) national budget interpretation symposium, E-Consult Managing Director, Keith Jefferis said the government is spending a lot of money on construction projects which are less significant to the economy when compared to developing human skills.

“The government is very good in spending on hardware things like building of roads and infrastructure but software development like human skills and education. We don’t need to spend a lot of money on buying equipment but we need to be committed to improve human skills,” said Jefferis.

He said Batswana are struggling to penetrate the international market because they are not competitive.   Jefferis also explained that there is poor implementation of public projects and policies. “There is poor implementation of policies which can help boost the economy. We are always hearing about the set up of many policies but we have never seen those policies implemented,” he said.

He said spending on high return projects is doubtful because of the lack of cost benefit analysis. “Spending in some cases does not seem to be carefully prioritised to ensure prudent spending of scarce resources, a typical example is the 50 percent increase in the defence spending when everything is squeezed,” said Jefferis.

BAC Executive Director, SertyLeburu said research has revealed that the industry believes that graduates possess skills which are a mismatch to the needs of the labour market.

She said they are continuing to take deliberate steps to engage with the industry more meaningfully and systematically to ensure that their output matches current and future industry needs.

“As a business school, we have made giant strides in ensuring that our academic programmes are tailored to anticipate and address the needs of the industry. Our curriculum incorporates to the highest possible extent, industry expectations and requirements,” said Leburu.

Presenting the 2016/17 national budget, Minister of finance and development planning, Kenneth Matambo said government is committed to ensure that issues of quality of education and skills mismatch are addressed through the implementation of the education and training sector strategic plan.

The ministry of education and skills development has been awarded the largest share of P10.64 billion in the recurrent budget.

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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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