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Women entrepreneurs put PPADB on notice

Publishing Date : 13 July, 2015


WIBA to submit a women threshold proposal to PPADB

Women in Business Association (WIBA) President, Tumi Mbaakanyi has said they are preparing a proposal for consideration government through which they instruct on how women entrepreneurs could be encouraged.  

The Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Board (PPADB) policy currently has no instruments put in place to assist women entrepreneurs to empower them to compete successfully against male counterpart who remain domineering in the procurement industry.

While the major aim of public procurement is to ensure that governments acquire goods, works and services some countries have long used public procurement as a tool to promote socioeconomic objectives. These objectives are usually referred to as horizontal or collateral because they are ancillary to the primary purpose of public procurement, which is to acquire goods and services for the government.

Women entrepreneurs have been eluded by favourable government policies despite government having made strides in some areas like introduction of some exceptions in process that are followed when considering bids for youth owned businesses. Government also has reserved 20 percent of the procurement to youth owned companies as a way of empowering them.

However, Mbaakanyi said the same cannot be said about women entrepreneurs who in Botswana have to access empowerment privileges in procurement only if they also belong to youth category.

In an economy of Botswana’s size, government continues to be the main player and the biggest provider of business to private sector. Government expenditure through public procurement activities represents about 70% of the Gross Domestic Product.

This essentially means the participation of entrepreneurs in the economy of Botswana including women solely rest on the public procurement policies when compared to most developed countries where public procurement account to a less percentage of up to 20 percent.

Women in Business Association (WIBA) President Mbaakanyi said they will put before Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Board (PPADB) a proposal to request for a threshold in reservation of tenders for women entrepreneurs, “It was matter which was agreed at BOCCIM fair earlier this year and we are currently doing a research to make a solid presentation,” said Mbaakanyi. “We are also benchmarking against other countries to see how they do it because we are dealing with government.”

Mbaakanyi said the proposal will also look at sectors like construction which are dominated by male and for a long time have been a no go area for women entrepreneurs. “We want government to consider these sectors and give women entrepreneur some preferential policies to allow them to compete successfully. In Russia for instance, in some sectors goods imported by women owned businesses are not required to pay customs tax as way of empowering them,” she said.

A document published by International Trade Centre (ITC) titled ‘Empowering Women through Public Procurement’ contend that women-owned businesses have limited value unless governments also address the challenges that prevent these firms from accessing and fully participating in public procurement markets.

“Lack of consistency, clarity and data in this area (public procurement) has frustrated past efforts to promote increased participation by women Entrepreneurs,” states the document. “Businesses owned by women and those owned by men are not similarly situated. Seemingly gender-neutral rules, policies and programmes can have a disparate impact on women-owned businesses.”

Kenya recently announced it would amend its public procurement regulations to reserve 30% of government contracts for women, youth and persons with disabilities.

World Economic Forum’s 2014 Global Gender Gap Report and Index however put Botswana in favourable ranking in terms of achieving gender equality. Botswana was ranked 51 out of 142 countries surveyed, while in terms of female participation in the economy Botswana was ranked 8th  in the world.

Botswana, in terms of equality on educational attainment was ranked at the top of the table, sharing first place over the past five years with a number of other countries for having achieved an almost perfect gender balance at all levels.

Government through the Women’s Economic Empowerment and Poverty Eradication Programme had funded 64 Women’s groups at a total cost of just P9.5 million in 2013/14, resulting in job creation for 320 beneficiaries. This brings the total of supported women’s groups to 310 at a total cost of P34.3 million benefitting a total of 2,480 individuals.



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