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Gov’t assigns extra bonds

Government continues to issue more bonds and allot more to existing ones listed on the local market. Last week Friday Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) notified the market of new changes following new insertions and changes on BBIS Constituent Bonds in the 2018 second quarter.

Ministry of Finance & Economic Development through Bank of Botswana (BOB) recently issued an additional total of P477 million to its existing Bonds, BW007, BW014 and BW015. A communiqué from BSE reveals that at the 31st May 2019 Government Bonds and Treasury Bill Auction, the three Bonds all of which are GovI, BBIFixed and BBI constituent bonds were re-opened and allotted additional issuances.

The BW007 bond was allotted P150.00 million, increasing its total nominal amount in issue to P2, 124 million while BW014 received additional issuance of P227.00 million, raising its total nominal amount in issue to P1, 158.00 million. In addition BW015 was reopened and additional P100 million was allotted. These additional issuances have increased the total nominal amount in issue on the BBIS by P477.00 million to P 14,193.17 million. The Constituents series currently represents 40 constituent bonds in total 33 of which corporate bonds with 24 fixed being rate bonds. The remaining 7 are government bonds.

Botswana Stock Exchange trades its Index Series (BBIS) under a series of 4 bond indices being Composite Bond Index (BBI), Government Bond Index (GovI), Corporate Bond Index (CorpI) and Composite Fixed Rate Bond Index (BBIFixed). The 1st March 2019 auction marked the first quarter of this year’s bond issuances with this 31st May insertions marking second quarter issuance.

Zooming into 2018 Bond performance the BSE Bond Index Series (BBIS) appreciated by 3.2% whereas the GovI and CorpI registered returns of 3.5% and 3.3% respectively. The BBIFixed returned 2.6% since its introduction in April 2018. Inflation averaged of 3.2% in 2018 mirrored that listed bonds provided purchasing power protection, save for the fixed rate bonds. Inflation in the year predominantly remained within the objective range of 3%-6% whereas interest rates were held constant throughout the year.

The value of bonds traded increased over four times from P535.6 Million in 2017 to P2, 222.7 Million in 2018. Government bonds continued to dominate liquidity of the market accounting for 97.9% of total turnover. The BSE registered a record number of new bond listings as 10 new bonds came on board compared to 8 in 2017. “This cushioned the impact of the 4 bond delisting in the year 2018.

Even though Government bonds accounted for the majority of trading activity corporate bonds dominated in terms of the quantity of bonds listed, a phenomenon that in most African markets is the reverse. At sector level, the profile of the bond market at the end of 2018 was such that Government bonds accounted for 63.8% of market capitalization, Quasi-Government (1.3%), Parastatals (7.9%), Corporate (25.3%) and Supranational (1.7%).

For 2019, trading activity increased significantly during 2019 Quarter 1 compared to the same period in 2018. The value of bonds traded over the period was P251.9 Million in comparison to P27.4 Million traded over the same period in 2018.  At the 1 March 2019 Government Bonds and Treasury Bill auction, the Bank of Botswana (BoB), on behalf of the Government offered additional tranches of the BW013 allotting P137.00 Million ,  increasing its total nominal amount in issue to P1,076.00 Million as well as BW014 allotting P335.00 Million hiking up its total nominal amount in issue to P931.00 Million.

On the back of Government bonds tap issuances and new issuances, the market capitalization of listed bonds increased to P15.4 Billion compared to P14.7 Billion as at the same period in 2018. On quarterly basis Government issues long dated bonds with a view to support the local capital market, observers in the financial services industry also hold the same sentiments. Experts and service providers in the insurance industry say regular bond issuances sparks confidence and in particular boosts the annuity book across investment & insurance market.

This was also reiterated by Catherine Lesetedi Chief Executive Officer of leading financial services, insurance and investment group Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) late last year when delivering her company’s financial results. For 2018 H1 she highlighted that BIHL delivered satisfactory figures on the annuity front because of continued commitment to support the market by Government “we are pleased that during the first six months we realized an improvement in annuity inflows, we were able to manage the annuity risk bolstered by government quarterly bond issuing” She said.

Lesetedi further  explained that the annuity book was an extremely risky segment to manage noting that for BHIL , the breakthrough would also be attributed to well structured risk management framework handled by a team of actuaries that manage the risk and meets on a monthly basis , “It would be remise of me not to mention the fact that managing the annuity book requires long dated assets and we are quite pleased as BIHL that we have seen government come to the party and issue on a quarterly basis long dated bonds which sparks confidence in the market and boost annuity inflows”

Government bond which is sometime referred to as sovereign bond is a bond issued by a national government unusually through the treasury or central bank, generally with a promise to pay periodic interest payments and to repay the face value on the maturity date. The bonds are usually denominated in the country's own currency; the terms on which a government can sell bonds depend on how creditworthy the market considers it to be. International credit rating agencies would provide ratings for the bonds, but market participants would then make up their own minds about a particular bond. In the case of Botswana, several years ago Government decided to assist in the growth of a stable and vibrant capital market in the country.

Government through Bank of Botswana resolved to issue debt instrument in the form of bonds and treasury bills, issued on quarterly basis. Botswana Stock Exchange Limited has played a pivotal role in boosting the annuity market and the capital market at large by calling for government to issue more bonds. BSE argued that the limited availability of listed government bonds negatively impact the demand of debt instruments while also compromising the liquidity of the debt market.

In mid 2017, Thapelo Tsheole, the Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Stock Exchange now a demutualized limited company remarked that lack of adequate government bonds as well as the wide gaps between their maturity dates was posing the danger of negatively hitting the pricing of corporate bonds. “We need to have more government bonds issued to maintain a robust risk free curve and the viability of the existing BSE bond indices.

These wide gaps in the yield curve negatively impact the pricing of assets such as corporate bonds that ordinarily reference risk free assets and this brings distortions in pricing and compromises the liquidity and the appetite for debt instruments,” said the BSE Chief quoted in July 2017.

Catherine Lesetedi noted that government decision to participate more and coming up with a reviewed framework that speaks to a specified and defined interval of bond issuing was commendable “We are quite pleased that at the last auction Government came to the market with a new bond BW 0015 which is a 25 year tenure bond, and this is very helpful for anyone who is in the market for annuities to manage their liabilities,” she said.

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Debswana-Botswana Oil P8 billion fuel partnership to create 100 jobs

18th May 2022
Head-of-Stakeholder-Relations

The partnership between Debswana and Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) which was announced a fortnight ago will create under 100 direct jobs, and scores of job opportunities for citizens in the value chain activities.

In a major milestone, Debswana and BOL jointly announced that the fuel supply to Debswana, which was in the past serviced by foreign companies, will now be reserved for citizen companies. The total value of the project is P8 billion, spanning a period of five years.

“About 88 direct jobs will be created through the partnership. These include some jobs which will be transferred from the current supplier to the new partnership,” Matida Mmipi, Head of Stakeholder Relations at Botswana Oil, told BusinessPost.

“We believe this partnership will become a blueprint for other citizen initiatives, even in other sectors of the economy. Furthermore, this partnership has succeeded in unlocking opportunities that never existed for ordinary citizens who aspire to grow and do business with big companies like Debswana.”

Mmipi said through this partnership, BOL and Debswana intend to impact citizen owned companies in the fuel supply value chain that include transportation, supply, facilities maintenance, engineering, customs clearance, trucks stops and its support activities such as workshop / maintenance, tyre services, truck wash bays among others.

“The number of companies to be on-boarded will be determined by the economics at the time of engagement,” she said. BOL will play a facilitatory role of handholding and assisting emerging citizen-owned fuel supply and fuel transportation companies to supply Debswana’s Jwaneng and Orapa Letlhakane Damtshaa (OLDM) mines with diesel and petrol for their operations.

“BOL expects to increase citizen companies’ market share in the fuel supply and transportation industries, which have over the years been dominated by foreign-owned suppliers. Consequently, the agreement will also ensure security of supply for Debswana operations, which are a mainstay of the Botswana economy,” Mmipi said.

“Furthermore, BOL will, under this agreement, transfer skills to citizen suppliers and transporters during the contract period and ensure delivery of competent and skilled citizen suppliers and transport companies upon completion of the agreement.”

Mmipi said the capacitating by BOL is limited to providing citizen companies oil industry technical capability and capacity to deliver on the requirements of the contract, when asked on helping citizen companies to access funding.

“BOL’s mandate does not include financing citizen empowerment initiatives. Securing funding will remain the responsibility of the beneficiaries. This could be through government financing entities including CEDA or through commercial banks. Further to this, there are financial institutions that have already signed up to support the Debswana Citizen Economic Empowerment Programme (CEEP),” Mmipi indicated.

While BOL is established by government as company limited by guarantee, it will not benefit financially from the partnership with Debswana, as citizen empowerment in the petroleum value chain is core to BOL’s mandate.

“BOL does not pursue citizen facilitation for financial benefit, but rather we engage in citizen facilitation as a social aspect of our mandate. Citizen facilitation comes at a cost, but it is the right thing to do for the country to develop the oil and gas industry,” she said.

Mmipi said supplying fuel to Debswana comes with commercial benefits such as supply margins. These have traditionally been made outside the country when supply was done by multi-nationals for a period spanning over 50 years. With BOL anchoring supply for Debswana, this benefit will accrue locally, and BOL will be able to pay taxes and dividends to the shareholders in Botswana.

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VAT in Africa Guide 2022 – Africa re-emerging

18th May 2022

PwC Africa has presented the eighth edition of the VAT in Africa Guide – Africa re-emerging. This backdrop of renewal informs on the re-emergence of African economies and societies which have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this edition, which has been compiled by PwC Africa’s indirect tax experts, covers a total of 41 African countries. It is geared towards sharing insight with our clients based on the constantly changing tax environments that can have a significant impact on business operations.

Within Africa, governments continue to focus on expanding the tax net by improving revenue collection through efficient compliance systems and procedures. PwC Africa has observed that revenue authorities also continue to take a keen interest in indirect taxes as part of revenue mobilisation initiatives.

Maturing VAT system and upskilling SARS 

“In South Africa, VAT is becoming more relevant as a revenue source for the government,” says Matthew Besanko, PwC South Africa’s Indirect Tax Leader. “Strides have been made to upskill South African Revenue Service (SARS) staff and identify VAT revenue leakages, particularly in respect of foreign suppliers of electronic services to people and businesses in South Africa.”

Broadening the tax base and digital economy

In the past year, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe saw updates to their VAT legislation, or introduced specific legislation targeting electronically supplied services (ESS), which is in line with the global trend of attempting to tax the digital economy. “The expectation is that Botswana will also introduce VAT legislation in due course, while the National Treasury in South Africa has also made mention of revising the rules to account for further developments in the digital economy,” Besanko says.

South Africa’s National Treasury has also drafted legislation with the intention to introduce a reverse charge on gold, which is expected to come into effect later in 2022. While in Zimbabwe, revenue authorities have introduced a tax on the export of raw medicinal cannabis ranging between 10% and 20%, which came into effect on 1 January 2021.

ESG and carbon tax 

Key strides have also been made within the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) space. “ESG leadership, strategising and reporting is essential now for organisations that wish to flourish and remain relevant,” Kabochi says. He adds that companies need to consider how ESG and tax intersect, since tax is a significant value driver when businesses need to deliver on their ESG goals.

In South Africa, a carbon tax regime, which is being implemented in three phases, has been adopted. The second phase was scheduled to start in January 2023, however phase one was extended by three years until 31 December 2025.

Until then, taxpayers will enjoy substantial tax-free allowances which reduce their carbon tax liability. At the beginning of 2022, the South African government increased the carbon tax rate to R144 (about US$9), which is expected to increase annually to enable South Africa to uphold its COP26 commitments.

With effect from 1 January 2023, carbon tax payers in South Africa will also be required to submit carbon budgets and adhere to the provisions of the carbon budgeting system which will be governed by the Climate Change Bill. Where set carbon budgets are exceeded, the government plans to impose penalties. “At PwC, we are continuously focused on our renewed global strategy, ” The New Equation,” Kabochi says. “Through this strategy, a key focus area for PwC Africa is to support clients in adding value to their ESG ambitions and building trust through sustained outcomes.”

The New Equation is also an acknowledgement of the fundamental changes in the business environment in which PwC’s clients and other stakeholders operate. PwC continues to reinvent and adapt to these changes as a community of problem solvers, combining knowledge and human-led technology to deliver quality services and value.

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Economists project lower economic growth for Botswana

18th May 2022
CBD

Local and international economists have lowered their projections on Botswana’s economic growth for 2022 and 2023, saying the country is highly likely to fail to maintain high growth rate recorded in 2021 hence will not reach initial forecasts.

Economists this week lowered 2022 forecasts for Botswana’s economic growth rate, from the initial 5.3% to 4.8% and added that in 2023 growth could further decline to 4.0%. The lower projections come on the backdrop of an annual economic growth that recovered sharply in 2021 with figures showing that year-on-year real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth increased to 11.4%, up from a contraction of 8.7% in 2020.

Economists from the local research entity, E-consult, this week stated that the 2021 double digit growth that exceeded projections made at the time of the 2022 budget may be short lived due to other developments taking place in the global economy. E-consult Economist Sethunya Kegakgametse stated that the war in Ukraine has worsened supply problems in the global economy and added that before the war, macroeconomic indicators were seen as improving and returning to pre-COVID levels.

According to the economist the global economy was projected to improve in 2022 and 2023. Recent figures show that global growth projections have been revised downwards from the initial forecast of 4.9% in 2022 with the World Bank’s new estimate for global growth in 2022 at 3.2%.

The statistics also shows that International Monetary Fund revised their growth projections for 2022 and 2023 down by 0.8% and 0.2% respectively, falling to 3.6% for both years. “The outbreak of war has severely dampened the global recovery that was under way following the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the economist.

She stated that despite Botswana being geographically removed from the conflict, the country has not and will not be exempt from the disruptions in the global economy. “The disruptions to global supply chains resulting from the war will have a negative effect on both Botswana’s growth and trade activities.

The economic sanctions against diamonds from Russia will add uncertainty to the market which will have knock on effects to Botswana’s growth, exports, and government revenues,” said the economists who added that the disruptions are driving prices up and result with very high inflation in the local economy.

Kegakgametse projected that in an attempt to limit inflation Bank of Botswana will be forced to raise interest rate “Should the sharp increase in both global and local inflation persist, Bank of Botswana much like other central banks around the world will be forced to raise interest rates in a bid to control rising prices. This would mean an end to the expansionary monetary policy stance that had been adopted post COVID-19 to aid economic growth,” she said.

In the latest projections, the UK based economic research entity Fitch Solutions lowered 2022 real GDP growth forecast for Botswana from 5.3% to 4.8% “In 2023, we see economic growth rate decelerating to 4.0%,” said Fitch Solutions economists who also noted that the 2022 and 2023 economic growth projections may come out lower than the current forecasts, as it is possible that new vaccine-resistant virus variants may be identified, which could result in the re-implementation of restrictions. “In such circumstances, we cannot rule out that Botswana’s economy may post weaker growth than our baseline scenario currently assumes,” said the economists.

According to the projections, Fitch Solution stated that there is limited scope for Botswana government to increase diamond production and exports, following the economic sanctions imposed on Russian diamond mining companies operating in Botswana. The research entity added that De Beers is unlikely to scale up diamond output from Botswana in order to prop up diamond prices.

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