BOCCIM to restructure

The Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) is set to restructure to make it more relevant to the private sector as per  recommendations of the Special Committee from the 2013 Annual General Meeting.

Presenting the case for restructuring at the 2014 AGM last week, Chief Executive Officer Maria Machailo Ellis said BOCCIM will become an Apex body; that is it will streamline it structure and mandate so they better serve the interests of the private sector.

The new structure will be in form of a pyramid with BOCCIM at the top as the umbrella body of commerce in Botswana and sector associations and chambers-like the Botswana Chamber of Mines, coming directly under it. It is understood that the new structure will promote the role of associations in policy making and lobbying government. This is in line with one of the findings by the special committee that BOCCIM was not needed pushing the agenda of members as they have direct access either as individual companies or as associations. Furthermore, the proposed new structure is expected to improve industry consultation and advocacy on important issues with a view to influencing government decisions. A survey by the special committee of BOCCIM members established among other things that BOCCIM had limited influence on government decisions had no structured collaboration with association and that there was not enough consultation prior to meetings. BOCCIM was also accused of being silent on important issues like work permits and the restructuring of the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA).”

It was also established that there is often no feedback on government meetings and it is also often difficult to get hold of BOCCIM management and lobbyists.
The special committee also recommended amongst others that the momentum of the restricting into an apex body be used to change the name and to create a new mission statement: shorter and in line with role of an APEX body.

“It is important also to bring constitution in line with role as APEX body, giving more weight to associations. In terms of governance, Council members should come from associations; Regions must be represented in Council and there should be no rush in creating regional Chambers of Commerce, but need for nationwide presence,” revealed Ellis.

BOCCIM President Leta Mosienyane emphasised that the proposal to turn BOCCIM into an Apex body does not suggest that the organization will shed off its previous roles. “It should rather, be viewed as a broadening of our mandate to be more representative. Through the apex model, we seek to improve services to our members by improving coordination of the advocacy and lobbying activities of organized business in Botswana,” he said.

Mosienyane indicated that another of their major focus was rebuilding the image of BOCCIM and reclaiming the stakeholder’s respect.

The president encouraged active surveillance on council members to ensure that they deliver, adding that a performance management system for council members was on the pipeline. “They should not only monitor the performance of the CEO but themselves as well, the President included,” concludes Mosienyane.