Following the anticipated merger of the Competition Authority and the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Sadique Kebonang, has warned Competition Authority employees that there might be headed for a restructuring.
“Of course the board will likely remain until the act has been fully amended in parliament, but other than that there will have to be a few changes here and there,” said Kebonang.
Kebonang said he will oversee both the separation of the Competition Commission and the Competition Authority as well as the transfer of the Consumer Affairs from the Ministry to the Authority, and as a result there will be some restructuring.
The Competition Authority is the primary enforcement agency for competition law and policy. It was established under the Competition Act of 2009 to monitor, control and prohibit anti-competitive trade or business practices in the economy of Botswana. It has been fully operational since 2011.
Kebonang visited the offices of the Competition Authority and Competition Commission on Wednesday and met with staff as part of his consultation and familiarisation tour of departments and parastatals under the ministry.
In his address to staff, Kebonang announced that all parastatals under the ministry fall under his portfolio, and he will be the link and close the gap between government and parastatals. He said that he will deal with all issues regarding restructuring, appointment of boards and CEOs. “I will be interfering at a much regular basis in your jobs, so brace yourselves for that. I have been given the mandate to oversee about 10 parastatals under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, including yours,” Kebonang said.
He said the role of his ministry is to grow the economy and therefore all bottlenecks that impede business will have to be removed. “When we have to intervene we will do so,” he said.
Earlier, when welcoming the Assistant Minister, the Chief Executive Officer, Thula Kaira, said as a public service delivery system, the CA will always strive to deliver results that are in line with the overall national development goals, saying that though the CA is operationally independent, it accounts to government.
According to Kaira, there has been a cabinet decision to separate the Competition Commission from the Authority. This process will entail creating a corporate governance board for the Authority and a separate tribunal that will hear both competition and consumer matters. In addition to this, the Consumer Protection Act of 1998 will be transferred to the authority for enforcement once it is amended according by parliament. Kaira said proposed amendments to both the Competition Act and the Consumer Protection Act have been drafted and are currently under review by the Attorney General’s chambers.