Mmegi Blogs :: Thumbs up­ to statutory bodies committee on BTO, BDC
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Monday 18 June 2018, 16:04 pm.
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Thumbs up­ to statutory bodies committee on BTO, BDC

Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises (SBSE) has been siting for the past weeks to examine the books of accounts. This Committee is another variety of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), in fact the latter was split to create it in terms of Standing Order Number 110.1. The Committee consist of a Chairperson and seven Members.
By Dithapelo Keorapetse Wed 28 Sep 2016, 16:14 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Thumbs up­ to statutory bodies committee on BTO, BDC








It examines the accounts of every statutory body, i.e a body set up by law to enforce legislation on behalf of the state, to be laid before Parliament. It also deals with such other accounts of statutory bodies laid before a Minister. The committee plays an oversight role in terms of Standing Order 110.2 (c).

In terms of the law, the Committee also has jurisdiction on the accounts of any company wherein the government directly or indirectly through a nominee or such other representative capacity, is a sole equity stakeholder. It can examine the accounts of every agency, trust, state enterprise and body corporate of the government. The Committee must take into account the reports of the Auditor General and other authorized auditors as well as management documents. In addition to examination of accounts, it can also examine management performance and value for money reports.

It has become apparent during the examinations that there are serious problems besieging parastatals, especially those that ought to be public enterprises. These entities mushroomed in the 1970s and 1980s right through to the 1990s because at independence, there was no full-fledged private sector to rely on for socio-economic developmental activities. For instance there were no private companies to distribute and sell water, electricity, and rail or air transport services etcetera.
There were no commercial banks to provide financial services and the state set up BSB (just before independence) BBS, NDB and the Central Bank. Many examples can be given in other sectors such as tourism, education, agriculture, telecommunication and mining inter alia.

These parastatals also delayed the coming of private players in various sectors of the economy, especially the subsidised monopolies. They became liabilities to the state. For some, their continued existence became unjustified because there is a plethora of private competitors who in some cases offer better deals for Batswana. Some parastatals became heavily indebted because of corruption, mismanagement and unethical corporate governance. CEO, board and management positions were given without the merit criterion; some politicians who failed to get elected at primaries or general elections are deployed to head these institutions. Some people fail interviews and are hired instead of those who passed.

Relatives and friends of connected people are also deployed to positions. Political interference occasioned by the powers given to Ministers on these bodies has inhibited the growth of some of the public enterprises. The DCEC and Parliament have investigated some of these institutions in the past but few people have been held accountable.

There have been Presidential Commissions of Enquiries under past Presidents on some of these state corporations. Fifty years into independence, there

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are still problems of state enterprises which are difficult to hold accountable. 

The Minister of Finance and Development Planning had before Parliament adjourned asked for over a billion Pula loan guarantee for BDC, something which Parliament referred to the SBSE Committee.  He was equivocal on what this money was going to be used for. It later emerged under cross examination by the SBSE Committee that each job to be created was to cost roughly a million Pula.

The Committee has since rejected the request. BDC has over the years failed dismally to rise to the occasion as the investment arm of the state. South Africa after 1994 has taken over Southern Africa in terms of FDI compared to other African countries. BDC failed to partner with Batswana and invest in emerging countries such as DRC, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and others.

It has failed on fostering domestic investment, the economy remains undiversified and in the hands of foreigners and naturalised citizens. Its attempts to lure FDI and partner with firms from Asia for textile e.g. in Selebi-Phikwe has been a disaster. The corporation management was implicated in fraud and unethical governance in the recent past and no one has been held accountable. The SBSE Committee has boldly rejected the request.

The tourism sector in the country is a big fraud; it remains a preserve of foreign conglomerates and their ruling elite friends and associates in the country.

Batswana get crumbs from these people and are not meaningfully participating in the sector.  The low volume-high value tourism policy is a disaster; it is much cheaper for Batswana to holiday in South Africa, Namibia, UAE, Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives and elsewhere than in Botswana. In fact many have given up their dreams of seeing the flora and fauna of their beautiful country because of exorbitant fees.

Botswana Tourism Organisation is a big scam; there is no board that is in charge, the Minister micro-manages the entity and procurement procedures and or rules and regulations and violated with impunity. It was good that the SBSE Committee summoned the Minister to come and answer tough questions about the running of the corporation.

The SBSE has uncovered that rookies with no clue about the organisation or the sector are seemingly in charge; they flout procedures and cost the state millions. The DCEC must investigate the entity for corruption and nepotism to find out how half-baked apprentices came to run the show when the country is blessed with abundant skills and experiences.

It must be investigated why the CEO ran away. The SBSE Committee should recommend criminal investigations on people who think they own this country.

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Views From The House
Wed 28 Sep 2016, 16:14 pm
Fri 23 Sep 2016, 16:03 pm
Fri 16 Sep 2016, 15:05 pm
Fri 09 Sep 2016, 14:45 pm
Fri 02 Sep 2016, 14:55 pm
Fri 26 Aug 2016, 14:57 pm
Fri 19 Aug 2016, 15:14 pm
Fri 12 Aug 2016, 17:31 pm
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