Botswana’s private sector conglomerate, Business Botswana, has called on the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Matambo, to make a statement which will reassure the nation that nothing has gone out of hand and that measures will be effected that go towards ensuring all government imposed levies are properly controlled and safe guarded.
Business Botswana issued a statement last week in light of the current allegations relating to possible impropriety on the management of government imposed levies specifically the current reference to the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) and pension funds which they refer to as ‘‘a course of magnitude concern’’. The statement further reads ‘‘Business Botswana unreservedly subscribe to the worthy fight against corruption in its totality. Our concern stems from the fact that these are public funds which are falling victim to either fraud or corrupt practices. It leaves us to ask ourselves a question as to whether the systems and procedures that are in place are so weak such that they are open to abuse. Further to this we wonder whether the boards that have a fiduciary responsibility over such resources are vigilant enough to avert any fraudulent activity in the funds that they are managing’’.
The organisation called on government to ensure that all levies are housed at the Ministry of Finance which is charged with safe guarding the finances of the country. Business Botswana expressed their concern on issues of governance, accountability and financial management systems that ought to be in place to mitigate any fraud related activities should such occur. ‘‘Our concern is further agitated by what seems to be very loose control mechanisms in place relating to the safe keep of these large funds,’’ complained the private sector mother body that was formed in 1971 and tasked with ensuring better coordination of the advocacy and lobbying requirements of business in Botswana.
‘‘Business Botswana feels that there has been one too many of such incidents pointing to a possible threat to the levy funds that have been created for the benefit of Batswana now and in future. Levies on their own, worse still, managed by the Ministry are prone to abuse’’, part of the statement reads.
Business Botswana posits that corruption continues to be identified as a major challenge in the country and it has affected the country’s Doing Business Rankings. ‘‘The Public and Private sector has identified this at their bi-annual High Level Consultation Council. There is no doubt that corruption has a negative impact in the performance of the economy and it affects employment creation efforts by all involved’’, the organization stated in their press statement and added that corruption negatively impacts on the country’s Foreign Direct Investment.