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Corruption starts to sting Botswana companies

The latest Global Competitiveness report (2017-2018) has pegged corruption in the top five most problematic factors for doing business in Botswana. It is ranked fifth by respondents who were engaged in the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey.

World Economic Forum invites policymakers, business leaders, civil society leaders, academics, and the public at large to consult the performance of their countries in the Global Competitiveness Index and, together, identify the main challenges and barriers to growth facing their economies. The Forum invites all stakeholders to look beyond rankings and to analyze the evolution of each indicator and each concept covered, identifying areas of improvement and areas where economies are lagging.

According to the Global Competitiveness report the number one problematic factor to doing business in Botswana is ‘Poor work ethic in national labour force’ ranked at a score of 19.0 out of 20. This indicates that poor work ethic is a major problem in Botswana and it contributes to failing businesses and just outright rejection by potential investors to set up in Botswana. Poor work ethic was still top of pile in the last report but the big difference is that it jumped from a score of 16.2 out of 20. Business executives are concerned with low productivity level and negative attitude towards work.

Access to Financing come a distant second at 11.1 score out of 20. The report suggests that it is very difficult for businesses to secure funding for their businesses in Botswana. Access to financing has maintained the same spot as last year but there is a significant improvement in the score from last year’s 13.3 out of 20.  

Corruption, which used to rank very low, is now third in the list scored at 10.5 out of 20. To some observers this should be a major concern to Botswana because business executives are starting to feel the pinch as a result of corruption. There has been selected reports of government officials demanding bribes to help businesses or suggestions of people’s business ideas being stolen. Most of the perceived corruption is in the procurement system where there are reports of inside trading, bribery, nepotism and favoritism. Last year corruption was ranked 8th with a score of 7.9 out of 20, this is a significant jump and it is evident that it is fast becoming a big concern for the “least corrupt country in Africa”.

Restrictive labour regulations are also viewed as a problematic factor in doing business in Botswana. Some businesses have in the past engaged Business Botswana on the country’s labour regulations and the matter was escalated to the Ministry of Labour for possible review of some of the laws or regulations. The Global Competitiveness report scores restrictive labour regulations at 10.0 out of 20. This factor was number six last year with a score of 8.6 out of 20. This year’s score demonstrates that business executives and other stakeholders are frustrated by the labour regulations has the drop.

Inefficient government bureaucracy keeps spot number 5 with a score of 8.8 out of 20. There is a slight improvement when compared to the 2016-2017 report Botswana it was scored at 9.5 out of 20. Inadequately educated workforce continues to be identified as one of the problematic factors and this year it is scored 8.7 out of 20. Businesses have always complained that Batswana are not adequately trained or they lack the requisite skills for most specialized jobs. Last inadequately trained workforce factor featured in the top 3 with a score of 10.4 out of 20, this year 2017-2018 there is a big improvement. Inadequate supply of infrastructure also features at in the top six this year, scored 8.7 out of 20.

Other problematic factors to doing business in Botswana identified by respondents were Insufficient capacity to innovate (7.7); Crime and theft (3.6); Policy instability (2.3); Inflation (1.5); Poor public health (2.0); Tax rates (3.0); Government instability (2.1); Foreign currency regulations (0.9); and Tax regulations (0.5).

Botswana is perceived as the least corrupt country in Africa and followed by Cape Verde, followed closely by Seychelles and Rwanda, a country among fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa comes in fourth place. But the Global Competitiveness report paints a disturbing picture if the factor of corruption continues to rank high as one of the problematic issues for doing business in Botswana. It remains to be seen what the next report of Transparency International would say with Botswana’s perceived growing corruption and whether it would reflect this growing concern.

By all accounts in the past corruption was seen as a moderate risk in Botswana. Petty corruption was not a risk for businesses, but in this year’s Global Competitiveness report the stakes have risen. Nevertheless, the opinion of some has always been that nepotism and patronage pervade the government sector, which makes corruption a very high risk for public tenders.

Corruption is real in Botswana

There is a high risk of encountering corruption in the Botswanan public procurement sector, most commonly in form of patronage.  Family members and friends often own companies that government ministries have tendered with, and conflicts of interest are often not disclosed (TI, Nov. 2014).

Just as an example recent reports indicated that eight out of ten Batswana believed that government officials are involved in corruption, and 75 percent believe that it has increased over the past year (Afrobarometer, Mar. 2015). Literature review by this publication suggest that businesses operating in Botswana report that they experience favoritism in relation to decisions from government officials (GCR 2015-2016). Petty corruption in form of irregular payments or bribes in connection with the awarding of public contracts or licenses are less common, but occur at times (GCR 2015-2016).

The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) tracks the performance of close to 140 countries on 12 pillars of competitiveness. It assesses the factors and institutions identified by empirical and theoretical research as determining improvements in productivity, which in turn is the main determinant of long-term growth and an essential factor in economic growth and prosperity.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018 comes out at a time when the global economy has started to show signs of recovery and yet policymakers and business leaders are concerned about the prospects for future economic growth.  Governments, businesses, and individuals are experiencing high levels of uncertainty as technology and geopolitical forces reshape the economic and political order that has underpinned international relations and economic policy for the past 25 years. At the same time, the perception that current economic approaches do not serve people and societies well enough is gaining ground, prompting calls for new models of human-centric economic progress

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021
Morwaeng

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021
Bokamoso

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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