Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Investment Trade & industry (MITI) Peggy Serame has confirmed to this publication that Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) is going through massive restructuring and remodeling exercises in a bid to enhance the organization’s efficiency and service delivery mechanisms.
Serame revealed that the organisation which is predominantly mandated with developing the Local Small Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) under her ministry has been introspecting itself at the instruction of government. All employees at LEA were recently served with notice letters informing them of the looming exercise. “The whole exercise which has been ongoing for several months is nearing completion, before end of this month we will be having a documented report on that,” she said.
Serame explained that the interest of her ministry is to have effective parastatals that serve their mandates better with reasonable resources and satisfactory return on investment. “We have given them our desirable outcome as far as the amount of annual subvention we want to channel to invest on LEA from now on going forward and they have been finding best possible ways of meeting that, we obviously want to scale it down,” she said. She indicated that the restructuring undertaking will also see LEA offloading some of its assets.
“We are looking at the organization downsizing and releasing some of its redundant assets such as vehicles, equipment non performing machinery at some centers , what is basically going on is that some LEA service centers as well as operations have not been outputting satisfactory returns compared to the amount of investment injected, so after this exercises LEA will resemble into a more effective model with robust service delivery structures in place,” she said.
Serame explained that there has been series of consultations with LEA employees and their Unions to prepare them for possible retrenchments. “Restructuring obviously comes with retrenching some workers because after this intensive scan on LEA operations it will be realized there is some human resources duplication and redundancy which will results in unfortunate outcome of relieving some workers off duty,” she said. WeekendPost has been informed that Ministry of Investment, Trade & Industry wants LEA to reduce its wage bill.
Currently LEA spends over 90 million Pula annually on staff remunerations, cost & compensations .Latest figures from the parastatal annual report indicates that LEA had a staff complement of over 300 across its 10 Divisions, 13 Branches and four Incubators, against an establishment of 349. On annual basis government through the Ministry of Investment, Trade & Industry’s recurrent budget funds LEA with subvention of around 140 million pula, this according to MITI will be reduced going forward.
Assistant Minister in the Ministry Moisiraela Master Goya underscored recently at a press conference that his Ministry‘s desire was to reduce government subvention funds allocated to parastatals. “We have been feeding them with tens of millions for far too long, it is time to review and introspect to analyses if we indeed getting desirable return on investment” he said. Goya is of the view that some parastatals within his ministry should be restructured to graduate them to at least a business model where they can meet half of their budget.
“After reviewing and restructuring these parastatals from within and actually downsizing some of them to reduce their annual expenses, then a window for merging some will clearly emerge, because we do not want the merging to inherit exorbitant operation expenses” he said. LEA, which was established in accordance with the Small Business Act of 2008 to promote entrepreneurship and Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) development, also finances its operations from revenue capital grants amortization and other internal operating income which collectively amount to an average of 10 million pula annually.
Serame told WeekendPost that after extensive review of LEA operations which has been undertaken internally by the organization itself, the Board of Directors will after meeting this week present to the Ministry what they have agreed as the ideal model and scope of operation taking in to account a number of issues including the employee retrenchments. “I am aware the Board is meeting this week , they will document and report to us , we will further deliberate on what they are proposing and make a decision and approve accordingly after further consultation” she said.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.