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BOCRA teeth not sharp enough to control Multichoice

Satelite television service provider Multichoice which owns the direct broadcast satellite service, DSTV, has the leeway of increasing subscription prices willy-nilly and Botswana Communications Regulations Authority (BOCRA) cannot control that.

This is according to the Court of Appeal (CoA) yesterday’s judgment which was nullifying the lower court decision which allowed BOCRA full control on Multichoice Botswana subscription fees or prices as per clause 13 of the license the regulator gave to Multichoice Botswana. The clause 13 of the BOCRA license granted Multichoice Botswana a “Subscription Management Service Provider Licence.”

Before yesterday’s appeal BOCRA had won a case in which it sought to make Multichoice Botswana as a Subscription Management Service Provider Licence to comply with its regulations, especially controlling of prices. However yesterday the supreme court quashed BOCRA’s case of controlling Multichoice Botswana saying by the regulator now want to regulate the subscription management service provider as a full broadcaster hence the move to control its tariffs.

According to the CoA, Multichoice Botswana which is registered in Botswana merely does administrative work for the broadcaster Multichoice Africa which in turn has exclusive control of both the bouquets of channels and tariffs. Multichoice Botswana does not own any DSTV service (network), DSTV broadcasting signal or decoder or any products it sell in Botswana but merely acts as an ‘agent’ for Multichoice Africa, therefore Multichoice Botswana cannot be deemed a broadcaster, according to the CoA decision which agrees with the subscription management service provider.

The CoA has found that Multichoice Africa conveys the DSTv signal from its point of origin to subscribers’ devices at their homes, by a continuous broadcasting process including the activation of smart cards and that all the activities in this broadcasting process take place outside Botswana. While the CoA believes BOCRA want to impose a broadcasting licence on Multichoice Africa, the broadcaster is not even joined as or a party to the case. According to CoA BOCRA sees Multichoice contravening its laws but “if its conduct is unlawful it cannot be rendered lawful by imposing conditions on Multichoice Botswana.”

This is not the first legal battle between Multichoice and the broadcasting regulator as the love-hate affair dates back to 14 years ago when BOCRA was called the National Broadcasting Board(NBB). That time, same as the recent case, the NBB had sought to control Multichoice Botswana which won the case all the way to the Court of Appeal. 

Therefore what was happening in this legal battle is in a de ja vu manner. Multiple Batswana who subscribes to DSTV pay tv services have a bitter pill to swallow with this  CoA judgement as there have been constant cries of overpricing by the service provider despite low or lack of quality in the content.

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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