Monday, September 29, 2008

Remarks by his Honour the Vice President LT. Gen. Mompati s. Merafhe, MP, at the Vision 2016 Awards Ceremony/Dinner Dance

source: Republic of Botswana (28/9/08): TAUTONA TIMES no 29 of 2008
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President "Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"


[Salutations]…Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I am absolutely delighted to join you this evening at this auspicious Vision 2016 Excellence Awards ceremony of 2008. This annual ceremony to present the national honour awards to outstanding individuals and organisations that have made a significant contribution towards the attainment of Vision 2016 goals is one that I believe we always look forward to with great anticipation.

2. Let me take this opportunity to thank the organisers of this event which I am told is the culmination of quite a long process which involved all the places across the length and breadth of this country.

3. It is very appropriate that we hold this national honour awards ceremony because it provides us with the opportunity to, among others, reflect upon the significance of these awards and indeed the Vision itself.

4. As you are all aware, through Vision 2016, we have committed to achieve ‘Prosperity for all by the year 2016’. When we made this commitment in 1996, we set ourselves milestones that we wanted to achieve knowing very well that the road to success was not going to be an easy one.

5. We knew that in order to achieve our goals, we needed to focus better than we did before and to accelerate the pace at which we were doing things. We also knew that if all the stakeholders played their part well by making critical inputs into the main channel of activities towards the achievement of prosperity for all by 2016, we were going to pull through.

6. Perhaps, the question that we need to ask ourselves now is ‘have we done so? - have we heeded the message of the legendary Ratsie Setlhako’s popular hit, A re chencheng’? Well, it appears a few players have been able to live up to our expectations and these are the ones we are honouring tonight.

7. Director of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is so appropriate that we take this time to praise these high achievers for their hard work and perseverance. By undertaking successful projects and programmes related to the various goals and objectives of Vision 2016, they have demonstrated their sound understanding of and commitment to ownership of the vision.

8. These individuals and organizations are no doubt paragons of virtue and productivity. They are motivated by a desire to meet the needs of their fellow country men and women, as well as to inspire them to follow in their footsteps. In my view, the works of these award recipients epitomise three things: creativity at heart, productivity at work and a commitment at soul to serve Botswana.

9. Of these virtues, ladies and gentlemen, productivity improvement which is critical to the attainment of Vision 2016 has continued to elude us over the years. While various studies continue to rate Botswana high in areas such as political stability, good governance and economic performance, much remains to be done in areas related to productivity such as customer service and work ethics.

10. Studies conducted by both Botswana National Productivity Centre and the Vision Council found that 80% of the nation is aware of the need for productivity improvement and well over 80% are equally aware of the existence of Vision 2016. What I find hard to reconcile with these indicators is that these high levels of awareness are not reflected in our approach to implementation.

11. Bagaetsho, that this country cannot progress unless we, as a people become productive in the workplace, is indisputable. As economics pundits say, productivity leads to economic growth that in turn creates jobs. It is an equation we cannot change or influence, we can only conform to it. No jobs will be created for our brothers and sisters if we still hold negative attitude towards work.

12. Ladies and Gentlemen, at 17.5%, unemployment in this country is very high. We therefore need to leave no stones unturned in our quest to grow the economy, create employment and in the process address the unacceptable pockets of poverty that still exist in our society.

13. Director of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen, with only eight years left before the year 2016, it is time to realise that all of you in this room, together with the political leadership of this country, need to do more to provide effective stewardship of the many teams and individuals that you preside over. Together we are the leaders of this country. We should all stand up and provide the required leadership to our compatriots.

14. I want to challenge all of you, as I did at the launch of the Vision Awareness Month in Ramokgonami early this month, to ensure that each one of us and all communities across this country re-dedicate themselves to the vision by developing action programmes to define their specific contribution to the nation’s efforts to realise the Vision’s goals and aspirations.

15. We are living in an era where visionary leadership is an indispensable factor in achieving competitiveness among and between nations. The challenge is to continue to think outside the box if we are to serve this country well and ensure sustainable economic growth for the betterment of all.

16. Director of Ceremonies, provision of effective corporate leadership cannot be an option. I find it rather absurd that in some institutions there are some employees who still do not understand or even appreciate the significance of the Vision as well as the urgency of productivity improvement in the workplace. Yet, in the very same institutions, the leadership would be the first to raise their hands and voices to claim commitment to pursuing the goals of the Vision to the letter.

17. How can goals be successfully pursued in such an environment? One wonders whether it is the employees who are in the wrong place or the leaders who do not measure up to the job at hand. However one chooses to answer the question, the bottom line is that employees should know that their performance impacts on the attainment of national objectives.

18. In Government, we have been worried about the low levels of productivity and poor customer service and we are addressing these problems. That is why we have invested heavily in performance improvement initiatives such as: long and short term training, Work Improvement Teams (WITS), Performance Based Reward System (PBRS) and Balance Scorecard as part of enhancing productivity in the workplace.

19. The results of these initiatives are bearing fruit, albeit at a snail’s pace. We now find that customer service is improving and the processes to facilitate delivery of services that were previously bogged down in bureaucratic delays are now being shortened to satisfy the needs of customers.

20. May I remind all sectors outside Government to appreciate that higher productivity can be achieved through, among others, a highly skilled and trained workforce. I am disturbed that some establishments in the private sector, which should be the engine of growth, seem to be paying only lip service to issues of staff development and training. If you want the best out of your employees, you must invest in them.

21. Tonight, Ladies and Gentlemen, we will witness individuals, Government agencies, Parastatals and Non-Governmental Organisations being given awards for various undertakings that are a result of improved productivity, commitment and compliance to Vision 2016.

22. I am informed that since the start of the commemoration of the Vision 2016 Excellence Awards in 2004, there has been a significant improvement in the numbers and quality of submissions that make it to the National Adjudication level. This year alone 20 awards will be presented.

23. It is encouraging to note that even the two pillars of United and Proud Nation and Open Democratic and Accountable Nation received entries for the first time this year. This is a clear indication that individuals and organisations are now keener to participate in these awards than before.

24. It is my hope that organisations such as LEA, NDB and CEDA are watching with keen interest so that they may help some of these awardees who have the potential to develop their programmes into viable business undertakings.

25. I also want to appeal to the business community in general to partner with such businesses to create wealth not only for the owners but also for the many citizens of this country by way of creating jobs. I am convinced that the business community in partnership with the Vision Council has a lot to offer to support communities and individuals that are eager to implement Vision 2016.

26. In the spirit of smart partnership, I can only urge all of you to ensure that we emerge winners in such endeavours. Let me conclude by congratulating those who are receiving awards this evening for a job well done and encourage them to continue to improve the marvellous work that they are doing. These awards should inspire the rest of Batswana to work harder and make even more progress towards the attainment of our goals.

27. Let us all live the spirit of Vision 2016 and dedicate our full commitment to the ideals of Vision 2016. PULA!!

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