Either you have a job or are looking for one. And if a job is not something you fancy, it could be you are a business person doing your own things. Businesses exist in different forms, makes, types and categories. You can name it, and lucky if you can exhaust the list. Some are illegal while others operate within the law or try to observe the existing laws. The good thing is they create jobs. How much they pay is a different matter. After all, there are different parameters.
Some businesses require a great deal of innovation and can be described as exhibiting an entrepreneurial skill. It requires creation of an idea and making to work. You can think of businesses such as “Facebook” or “PayPal” as some great examples that showcase the mind of entrepreneurs. Then there is another group of tenderpreneurs. I am interested to talk about this group because they sit at the helm of killing innovation and incite laziness in the mind of our young people, the very foundation of our future.
Think of the land of Egoli after the end of the apartheid regime. The black empowerment has created a new class of very rich folks whose only skill is government connection. This class of business persons has thrived and continues to do so by simply supplying to government, goods they don’t produce. They are known as a set of tough tenderpreneurs thriving on comradeship, vices and corruption. Within years, these elites have amassed wealth that is unrivalled and a mockery to talent that is creative. Well, one can think about this country and read the mind of this category as we have a couple of them, organised and fragmented in some way, if you get this.
To discern the mind of the tenderpreneur, a couple of things must be examined. For starters, there is nothing wrong in being one. The Republican Constitution after all guarantees economic rights for all, even though such rights have been stifled for a variety of reasons including the perception of a business not holding politically correct opinions. Such stifling often comes through the use of State machinery to crash perceived or shadow opponents. All this goes into the mind of the tender big honchos.
Our country has very weak laws regarding political funding. Government tender minded dealers have capitalised on this game very well in liaison with the system at various levels in charge of tax payer funds. A conduit of systematically short-changing the tax payer has existed since 1994 as a duet of business persons sponsoring political parties in return for a government contract. For instance, the K187 million education sham bears all hallmarks of a boom of tender minded persons. All of a sudden any dude in town that had some connection owned a construction company with a zero idea of how a road or a house is constructed except for grass thatched huts. It could be the reason why we still have our kids learning under trees or in mud classrooms.
Now that the budget is presented, elected representatives need to reflect on what a budget is supposed to achieve. A candid reflection of the overall fiscal accountability must be an overarching foundation in which they look at the billions of taxpayer funds. One such accountability dimension is to fix laws governing political party funding, a conduit through which taxpayer funds are lost. Why should someone just wake up one day and become a supplier of pharmaceutical products to the government of Malawi? The current budget has allocated K7 billion to the cement and iron sheets subsidy. There are only two known cement producers in the country but very soon we may see various companies involved in the supply of cement.
Tender minded businesses discourage our young to work hard, create innovative ideas to develop the country. If you can get a government tender worth billions, why waste time with a start up idea? There are things that need quick fixing. Examples abound, but you can clearly see the criminal mind of tenderpreneurs. A majority of “cash-gate” cases and its K92 billion predecessor, an alleged mere audit query as the top auditing honcho calls it, are all rooted in tenderpreneurs created by government. Who will stop them?
I wish to welcome the cement and iron sheet subsidy to the tender world as some of us add on to the fertiliser subsidy. A cool K7 billion topping to the tender cake. Money is good, isn’t it? n