Various parastatals and state owned enterprises last week joined hands in a farewell ceremony arranged for outgoing President Ian Khama whose tenure as President of Botswana ends on the 31st March. Khama has been at the helm of the country since the 1st April, 2008, when he took over from former President Festus Mogae.
With just over a month before he hands over the baton to incoming President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, paratatals saw it fit for them to celebrate his 10-year milestone, as well as wishing him well. Speaking on behalf of other parastatals, CEDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Thabo Thamane said; “I will however not repeat the ululations that you have already, but only reaffirm your unwavering support to all parastatals throughout your time in the Presidency.”
“Your Excellency, we believe that what drove us as Captains of Industry was not because of blind optimism or believe, but because you created a compelling environment that made us pregnant with hope for a better Botswana,” he said.
The CEO noted that a number of parastatals were created during Khama’s term in office “to address emerging issues, and the mandate of some parastatals or their mandates enhanced to drive specific objectives. I would however desist from enumerating these enterprises as they are several and are well known to this gathering.”
Thamane pointed out that parastatals and state owned enterprises will remain an important instrument in any Government’s toolkit for societal and public value creation. He said Government’s may increasingly turn to parastatals as a tool to better position themselves for the future in the global economy, due to increased competition for finance, talent and resources.
With regards to what he said is the increasing discontent regarding the performance of parastatals, which he said have generally, been labelled as inefficient and in some cases ineffective, he argued that parastatals have different purpose, mission and objectives which relate to some aspect of public service and/or social outcome and therefore in evaluating their performance they should not be judged solely on the basis of financial results.
He advised that they be charged more widely on how they contribute to societal value creation, taking an integrated and holistic view of their impact. “This goes beyond financial results to consider total impacts such as on other societal ‘capitals’ like social, human, innovation, citizen and welfare, and environmental capitals,” he said.