Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) Board of Directors has clashed with government over a package to be given to the Centre’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) whom they have been hunting for close to a year.If the board had its own way, then they would have employed a substantive citizen and offered an attractive remuneration package.
Finance and Development Planning ministry has established different packages for locals and expatriates holding similar senior positions despite the fact that the job size, complexity, and impact are the same. The board has made several attempts to engage the services of a CEO but failed.
Eventually former IFSC man, Letsebe Sejoe was appointed Chief Operating Officer with the aim that he would learn along the way and ultimately be appointed acting CEO if he performs well. Both the Minister of Trade and Commerce whose portfolio covers BITC, Dorcus Makgato- Malesu and Board Chairman, Victor Sennye confirms that the search is still on.
“The first round of the candidates interviewed and shortlisted were not successful. The search is still on.” While Sennye said: “We believe that there are many capable Batswana who could take over this role. However, it is equally important that the remuneration package should reflect the nature of the job size, complexity, and impact on the economy of the job at hand”.Sennye continued to say.
”In essence, our offering should be geared to attract and retain talent. This matter is being taken up with relevant authorities. In he meantime, we are delighted to have in place a COO,” said Sennye. The delay to employ a substantive CEO comes at a cost, as BITC cannot implement its strategic plan.
Further, the most senior, the COO Sejoe continues to receive coaching from both a local company and a Mauritius Investment Promotion Agent (IPA) to assist him to perform in his duties. Botswana Guardian has reliably learnt that the said Mauritian was in the panel that interviewed the junior staff at BITC, but did not join the board when it interviewed the three serious contenders in Lamerck Nthekela former Acting BEDIA CEO Sejoe (IFSC) and Olebile Kelotsositse.
Letting new luxurious building
Botswana Guardian has also learnt that BITC may be contravening government‘s decision to establish it as they appear to be a big spender. Government made a decision through Presidential Directive CAB 37 (B)/2009 to the effect that a number of parastatals and government-owned companies with more or less similar functions be merged.
As a result, cabinet directed that in order to cut costs, BEDIA and IFSC be merged into a single entity under the portfolio Trade and Industry ministry. But this week this publication has reliably learnt that the newly formed BITC will abandon its luxurious offices at the main Mall, which were owned by BEDIA and move to a rented building at the Central Business District. The building’s monthly rental is a cool P300, 000.
The decision to merge the two to avoid duplication has not cut board spending, as one board member resides permanently in South Africa. It is said for ages she has been a board member of BEDIA, each time she attends meetings, she has to be booked in a hotel, rented a car and bought air tickets.
Her longest stay was allegedly during the time when BEDIA was doing a forensic audit in 2010. Botswana Guardian has been told that some board members are allegedly paid allowance as per charges of their respective private companies, and not per PEEPA set standard governing seating allowance of board members.
PEEPA has set the seating allowance at about P800, but some board members allegedly billed BITC or BEDIA more than P30, 000,00 as their charges for services rendered.