Over 400 000 in formal employment
Overall employment increased by 0.1 percent (363 persons) from 410, 329 persons in December 2017 to 410,692 persons in March 2018. Private and Parastatal recorded the highest increase in employment of 0.2 percent each, followed by Central Government with 0.1 percent increase in employment. Local Government recorded a decrease in employment of 0.2 percent.
According to Statistics Botswana this Stats Brief presents formal employment figures during the month of March 2018. The information for this brief is collected quarterly from business establishments through a mailed questionnaire. The brief also presents average earnings or wages for all establishments in Government, parastatals and the private sector.
The Statistics Botswana brief notes that in March 2018, a total of 11,582 (2.8 percent) employees were non-citizens. Out of this total, Private and Parastatal sectors recorded 10,510 employees. Construction industry was the major employer of non-citizens (23.0 percent), followed by Education industry (16.4 percent) and Manufacturing industry (15.7 percent). An estimated number of employees by economic activity/sector for March 2018. A total of 410,692 employees were recorded, of which 201,430 (49.0 percent) were males while 209,276 (51.0 percent) were females.
The brief shows that overall, formal employment increased by 0.1 percent between March 2018 and December 2017 with Private and Parastatals recording the highest increase of 0.2 percent each, followed by Central Government with 0.1 percent, while Local Government encountered a decrease in employment of 0.2 percent. “The decrease in Local Government was mainly prompted by the decrease in employment of the Ipelegeng Programme, recording a decrease of 0.3 percent.
On the other hand, Mining and Quarrying recorded an increase in employment of 1.6 percent between the two quarters, followed by Agriculture and Water & Electricity with 1.0 percent each.” Meanwhile employee earnings decreased from P6,216 in December 2017 to P 6,211 in March 2018, which is a decrease of 0.1 percent. Monthly average earnings for citizens stood at P5,874, P17,830 for non-citizen and P6,211 for all employees as at end of March 2018. There was a decrease of 0.1 percent in monthly average earnings for all employees from December 2017 (P6,216) to March 2018 (P6,211).
Minimum hourly wage rates in Thebe per hour from April 2009 to November 2017 increased by 52 percent between 2009 and 2017 from 380 thebe to 579 thebe respectively. According to Statistics Botswana, the minimum hourly wage rates have experienced an upsurge over the above mentioned years except for 2009 to 2011, where the rates remained the same for three (3) years.
The Statistics Botswana brief further shares that the private sector had the largest share (47.3 percent), followed by Central Government with 25.4 percent. Local Government and Parastatal recorded 22.6 percent and 4.7 percent respectively. It is further reported in the brief that most industries were almost constant in terms of employment increment, except for one industry which recorded a significant increase, being Mining & Quarrying recording 1.6 percent increment in employment, followed by Electricity & Water and Agriculture recording 1.0 percent each.
Hotels & Restaurants industry and Real Estate recorded a decrease in employment with 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent respectively, followed by Transport & Communication with 0.1 percent decrease in employment. The statistics further demonstrate that males dominated their female counterparts in Private and Parastatal sectors with 56.6 percent and 57.2 percent respectively. Males constituted 46.1 percent for Central Government and 34.9 percent for Local Government. Female employees were higher in Local Government (65.1 percent), followed by those in Central Government (53.9 percent).
The formal employment brief is meant to help inform stakeholders in their periodic planning and policy formulation. The brief owes a lot to the business establishments who continue to respond to our questionnaire on employment and employee remuneration. However, Statistics Botswana continues to face serious challenges of some business establishments not responding to the questionnaire thereby, soliciting rigorous and costly follow ups.
According to Statistics Botswana, the non-response may also compromise the accuracy of the figures generated and consequently the decisions based on those figures. “Business entities are, therefore, encouraged to report their employment figures quarterly to enable Statistics Botswana to provide information that will guide informed decision making at all levels.”
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Grit divests from Letlole La Rona
Grit Services Limited, a member of the pan African real estate group, London Stock Exchange listed Grit Real Estate Income Group is divesting from Letlole La Rona Limited (LLR), a local real estate company established by government investment arm Botswana Development Corporation over a decade ago.
The Board of Directors of Letlole La Rona Limited this week announced in a statement to Unitholders that Grit Services Limited (‘Grit’) has informed them of its intention to exit its investment in the company.
Grit has been a material shareholder in LLR since 2019. On 07 March 2023, Grit sold 6 421 000 linked units, representing 2.29% of the Company’s total securities in issue, at a market value of BWP 22 537 710.
This trade follows previous sales of 6.79% in December 2022, as communicated to Unitholders on 10 January 2023, as well as a further sale of 4.78% (representing 13 347 068 linked units) on 24 February 2023 to various shareholders.
In aggregate, Grit has sold 13.9% shareholding in the Letlole La Rona between December 2022 and March 2023, resulting in current shareholding of 11.25% in the Company.
Letlole La Rona said in the statement that the exit process will take place in an orderly manner so as to maintain stability of the Company’s share price.
The statement explained that Grit’s sale of its entire shareholding in LLR is in line with its decision to exit investments where it does not have majority control, or where it has significant exposure to currencies other than US dollar, Euro or hard-currency-pegged revenue streams.
“Grit has announced similar decisions pertaining to certain of its hospitality assets in Mauritius recently. The Company would like to advise Unitholders that it remains focused on long-term value delivery to all stakeholders” LLR said
In July last year as part of their Go-to-Africa strategy Letlole La Rona acquired an initial 30% equity stake in Orbit Africa Logistics, with an option to increase this investment to 50%. OAL is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Mauritius, owning an industrial asset in a prime industrial node in Nairobi, Kenya.
The co-investment was done alongside a wholly owned subsidiary of London listed Grit. The Orbit facility is situated on a prime industrial site on Mombasa Road, the principal route south of Nairobi center, serving the main industrial node, the port of Mombasa and the industrial town of Athi River and is strategically located 11 kilometers south of the international airport and 9.6 kilometers from the Inland Container Depot.
Grit shareholding in Letlole La Rona was seen as strategic for LLR, for the company to leverage on Grit’s already existing continental presence and expand its wings beyond Botswana borders as already delivered by Kenya transaction.
Media reports have however suggested that LLR and Grit have since late last year had fundamental disagreements on how to go about the Go-to-Africa strategy amongst other things, fuelled by alleged Botswana government interference on the affairs of LLR.
Government through LLR founding shareholder – Botswana Development Corporation has a controlling stake of around 40 percent in the company. Government is the sole shareholder of Botswana Development Corporation.
Letlole La Rona recently released their financial results for the six months ended December 2022, revenue increased by 4% to P50.2 million from P48.4 million in the prior comparative six months, whilst operating profit was up 8% to P36.5 million. Profit before tax of P49.7 million was reported, an increase of 8% on the prior comparative six months.
“We are encouraged by the strong results, notwithstanding a challenging economic environment. Our performance was mainly underpinned by annual lease escalations, our quality tenant base and below average market vacancy levels, especially in our warehouse portfolio,” Kamogelo Mowaneng, Letlole La Rona Chief Executive Officer commented.
LLR reported a weighted average lease expiry period of 3.3 years and escalation rates averaging 6.8% per annum for the period ended 31 December 2022.Its investment portfolio value increased by 14% year-on-year to close the period at P1.4 billion, mainly driven by the acquisition of a 30% stake in OAL in July 2022.
The Company also recorded a significant increase in other income, predominantly due to foreign exchange gains on the OAL shareholder loan. “We continue to explore pipeline opportunities locally, and regionally in line with our Go-to-Africa strategy and our interest remains on value-accretive investments,” Mowaneng said.
An interim distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit was declared on the 6th of February 2023 for the half-year period to 31 December 2022, comprising of a dividend of 0.05 thebe and debenture interest of 9.06 thebe per linked unit which will be paid to linked unit holders registered in the books of the Company at the close of business on 24 February 2023.
Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW
Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.
The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.
“In accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,” said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.
In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices. Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.
“Community empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,” said Shah.
Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.
“As a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy’s productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,” said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.