BOCCIM transformation on the cards

The transformation of Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) into an apex organization is nearing completion and the Confederation will soon unveil its new structure, new constitution, revised subscriptions and fresh name. This was revealed by BOCCIM president Lekwalo Mosienyane on Friday. He said going forward, BOCCIM will operate as an apex body and umbrella organization with only associations and regional Chambers of Commerce as members. He added that the apex structure will enhance BOCCIM’s advocacy role, broaden its mandate and make it more representative of the private sector.
“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. Companies will be represented in BOCCIM by these sectorial or regional bodies. In the apex structure, BOCCIM’s three main missions will be advocacy, support to associations and development of business support services,” said Mosienyane. BOCCIM has been working with experts from the Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce and Paris Chamber of Commerce who have already designed an action plan and the new envisaged structure of BOCCIM. The Confederation is also at an advanced stage working with local consultants to revise its constitution and a subscription model in line with the new role of an apex organization. BOCCIM will also come up with a new and fresh name to complete the transformation. “All this has been made possible by financial contributions from the European Union, CDE and Botswana Government under the Private Sector Development Program,” said Mosienyane. Mosienyane also commended government for its willingness to dialogue with the private sector through the High Level Consultative council (HLCC). He explained that BOCCIM is mandated to advocate, lobby for policy and regulatory reforms and ensure that government reforms result in a conducive business environment where the private sector can flourish. He added that the HLCC is a robust dialogue structure which allows the private sector to engage government from the level of local authorities to Ministers, right up to the State President. He also hailed the HLCC and National Business Conference (NBC) as unique public-private sector dialogue structures that have stood the test of time. “We are very quick to recognize that, without a willing partner, it would not have been possible to be where we are in our engagement endeavors. We would not have the HLCC and the NBC. It is therefore fitting for me to acknowledge and commend our government for not only believing in the HLCC and the NBC but for continuing to protect them and facilitating us to ensure that we effectively exploit the benefits of these institutions,” he said. The HLCC was institutionalized after BOCCIM lobbied for co-operation and coordination of all matters of economic development. It is chaired by President Khama and attended by all ministers and top policy making officials. On the private sector side, the HLCC is attended by captains of industry, representing the private sector in total. HLCC meetings are mandated to consider and to resolve a wide range of issues which constrain the performance of the economy. Mosienyane said BOCCIM will continue to utilize the HLCC to table industries’ concerns, debate on Botswana’s ratings by the World Bank on both the Doing Business and the Competitiveness Report and interrogate causes and identify remedies. He said BOCCIM was this year involved in robust advocacy that included engagement on the issue of work and residence permits which is a huge concern for members. He added that other concerns raised by BOCCIM were on the water and electricity situation and the role that the private sector should play in seeking sustainable solutions. “We also looked at delays caused by Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and construction permits. The list is long but I can assure our members that we are hanging in there to make sure that the situation turns around,” he said.