The adage that ‘do as I say but not as I do’ cab best describe a state enterprise tasked with ensuring that work ethic and productivity among the working class improves in Botswana. Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) which was established through an Act of Parliament in December 1993 as a Parastatal whose mandate is to enhance the level of productivity awareness as an advocacy function and to enable individuals and organisations through training and consulting to be productive and competitive failed to walk the talk on Thursday before the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises.
Chief Executive of BNPC Baeti Molake informed the committee that their main challenge is that they are underfunded as they were given only P23 million while their expenses are P36 million per year. Before he could continue committee chairperson Samson Moyo Guma asked him how much they are owed, to which Molake said in 2013 it was P1.5 million increasing to over P3 million in 2014.
Guma asked what is the ratio between their expenses and what they are owed and before Molake could attempt to answer, the Tati East Member of Parliament summoned BNPC Finance Manager to come and rescue his boss. BNPC Finance Manager Maemo Thokwane fumbled before the committee when asked about the ratio instead talked about the percentage.“I never asked about the percentage and am asking a basic thing that can be done by a finance manager, whose failure to do that can be fired,” said Guma.
Asked if they have a strategic plan to turn around their organisation, Molake answered in positive and revealed that it is coming to an end next year. Molake who seemed not prepared tried to explain to the committee their strategic plan but was out rightly dismissed by Guma. “I don’t think there is that plan if it does not, I don’t think it is in the manner you’re the presenting it, if so it is flawed,” hit out Guma.
At this time Guma raised his hands as a sign of giving up on BNPC presentation and asked other committee members to probe BNPC further. Another challenge that BNPC CEO presented which was quashed by the committee was that they have seen decline in organisations and enterprises taking up their training products citing high prices. Member of the committee MP for Gabane/Mmankgodi Major General Pius Mokgware said he is worried that the national productivity centre which is tasked with improving work ethics is failing dismally to account. Mokgware said BNPC is not marketing their training products hence they are not doing well in the market.
“There are lots of consultants who are doing the same work as you and their products are very appealing and surprisingly some of them are your former employees,” said Mokgware urging BNPC to vigorously market their products. The former army officer warned them that if they keep their reserved attitude they will soon be irrelevant. He informed them that experts are leaving BNPC to set up their own productivity courses and are doing well while BNPC which has a competitive edge is failing to take on opportunities offered by ministries and councils on training.
At the end Guma told the BNPC that their presentation was not horrible but they can do much better next time and called on the finance manager to go and sharpen up.