Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), an investment arm of government has been transferred from the control of Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in what observers say signals President Ian Khama’s loss of trust on Finance minister, Kenneth Matambo.
The transfer comes at a time when BDC is fanning, arguably one of the biggest corporate scandal that the mineral led economy has ever faced. BDC is currently under heavy surveillance from crime busters after it emerged that the institution, which was awarded around P500 million has not accounted for part of the funds injected in the glass manufacturing project in Palapye.
The company had signed a controversial deal with a mysterious company owned by Chinese briefcase investors - Shanghai Fengyue Glass Manufacturing Company. Matambo, who was once the Managing Director of BDC, would not want to be drawn into discussing the transfer. “Go and ask the person who told you that,” he purred on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry is headed by Dorcas Makgato-Malesu, and it is understood that cabinet took the decision last week to relieve Finance minister Matambo from the burden of controlling the institution he once led.
For her part, Malesu confirmed BDC transfer and quipped: “This is not new. Some parastatals have been moved from some ministries to others in the past,” she pointed out. She went to explain further that the decision (to transfer BDC) has long been overdue.
“Trade ministry, through its parastatals is responsible for the provision of conducive environment for growing the economy and creating wealth through investment, industrialisation, economic diversification and trade. I have been waiting for BDC to complete our value chain,” said Malesu, who reiterated that there was nothing sinister with government decision.
Few years ago, Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) was transferred from Matambo’s ministry to Trade and Industry. However, those closer to government enclave revealed that the move signals Khama’s admission that BDC is facing management challenges and that he “no longer has faith in Matambo’s ability to stir BDC to the shore.”
“It is clear the president has lost faith in Matambo. He knows that too,” said a reliable source in government, adding that the decision is a slap on his political future. Government spokesperson, Dr. Jeff Ramsay also confirmed the transfer, and echoed Malesu sentiments.