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BPOPF restructuring to cut spending

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Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) is in the process of restructuring to fully implement its new service offering. The Fund decided to provide in-house services, which were formerly carried out by Alexander Forbes externally.

These services include the collection of members’ contributions and administration of benefits. Briefing the press last week, BPOPF Chief Executive, Boitumelo Molefe said BPOPF is currently on a restructuring process as it is now in-sourcing all services from Alexander Forbes.

“In this year we have been very busy. We are bringing in all services from Alexander Forbes to our house. For the first time in history BPOPF will have a back office in-house,” said Molefe. The services include Benefits administration, data services, trust services, investment management services and financial services.

The system is expected to be complete by October next year. Molefe explained that through the process the fund has to restructure to enable it to deliver the new services. She said the restructuring of the fund was approved by the board in November 2015 and has resulted in the new organisational structure and a five-year human resource strategy.

The insourcing system is expected to save the fund 70 percent of the cost of outsourcing payment services of its 153 000 members. “The recruitment for the new structure has commenced and is likely to be complete in the first quarter of 2016.

For the first time in its history, the fund is now geared towards a culture of service provision and development,” said Molefe.Through the new strategy, the fund will experience regular audits by Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA). “2016 is also likely to be the year when the new Retirements Funds Act comes into play, which will increase the need for greater regulation,” said Molefe.

Molefe also said they have already rolled out a new IT system to manage data for the members.

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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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