Acting Chief Executive of Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) Meshack Tshekedi has resigned.
Tshekedi steered the BITC ship after the departure of founding Chief Executive, Letsebe Sejoe early last year when the latter’s contract was not renewed despite the Board recommending that it be renewed.
Doubling as Chief Operations Officer, Tshekedi is credited with delivering a bigger and successful Global Expo last year as well as launching the Botswana One Stop Service Centre.
Last year’s Global Expo also attracted big names like Virgin Group’s founder and chief executive Richard Branson, who not only hosted a talk with businesspeople and would-be investors, but also met the country’s leadership with a view to investing some of his fortune in Botswana’s pristine Okavango Delta. Announcing Tshekedi’s resignation this week, a deflated BITC Board Chairman, Victor Senye said while the organisation was “sorry” to see Tshekedi go, they were equally “fortunate to have benefitted from his leadership.” Senye described Tshekedi as an “invaluable, motivated leader” for the organisation, whose ability to advocate for business and build partnerships as well as drive the organisation forward will serve as “a model” for his successors.
Three years with the organisation Tshekedi finally quit this week Wednesday January 31st to seek “greener pastures” according to those he worked with at BITC. They say there was no animosity or bad blood between Tshekedi, the Board and the parent Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry but that his decision to resign was purely personal. But there is a growing school of thought that the salary structure for chief executives of non-financial or non-income generating state enterprises is unattractive for high calibre executives. BITC is a case in point and is compounded by the fact that the organisation is the product of a merger of two defunct entities – Botswana Enterprises Development and Investment Agency (BEDIA) and International Financial Service Centre (IFSC).
Sadly, when the two amalgamated the Chief Executive Officer’s salary was pecked at F1 Scale, thereby making it difficult for the Board to recruit high calibre CEOs as per the shareholder’s expectation. There is also an unwritten policy that Chief Executives should not earn the same salary as permanent secretaries, which serves as a stumbling block for the board since it has no direct access to the ministry of finance to argue its case. The chief executive of BITC must be someone well-grounded in targeted investment promotion to sell Botswana’s competitive edge in the international arena, as well as well-versed in complex issue of taxation; benefits and avoidance of making Botswana a tax haven or haven for illicit money. Tshekedi confirmed to Botswana Guardian that his decision to leave BITC was for “personal preferences,” but declined to say where he was headed. In the meantime, the Board has appointed Kelotsositse Olebile as acting chief executive whilst the search for substantive chief executive continues.