Accountant General Emma Peloetletse revealed that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning bypassed Parliament when sourcing a P1 billion loan for De Beers during the recessionary phase which nearly collapsed the mining sector few years ago.
Peloetletse said this before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) after Bonnington South legislator Ndaba Gaolatlhe asked about the process used to facilitate the loan. The accountant general revealed that due process was not followed.
“The honest truth us that the De Beers wanted stimulus but did not follow the right process to get it. The right process should have been going to Parliament. It (loan) should have been ratified or approved by Parliament, but that process was not followed,” said Peloetletse.
Gaolatlhe commended the accountant general of taking the blame after doing something unprocedural, saying this should not be a norm or a trend. He said this was not the first time something like this happened in government, citing Water Utilities Corporation as an example of what “caused a discomfort at the time.
Gaolatlhe also asked the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning its intentions on ints investment on De Beers given the advent of artificial diamond. The legislator said at this time of Botswana still assessing its partnership with De Beers, it is worth knowing about the rising phenomenon of synthetic diamonds.
The rise of artificial diamonds is believed to be a major threat on natural diamonds and some fear economies which are dependent on diamond production like Botswana will suffer in the long run when the world stops digging for diamonds from the ground and start manufacturing them in laboratories. The biggest diamond producer in the world, a partner to Botswana in diamond production and sales, has announced in the middle of this that it is also venturing heavily on artificial diamonds after taking years raising crusades to campaign against man made diamonds.
“Even though I do not intend to speak for the ministry of minerals I can just say we are aware of the competitive stage that we are in. It should be noted that our investment on De Beers also cuts across artificial diamonds. However this does not take away the fact that what we produce is original. We should cherish our original diamonds. What is original is original,” said Peloetletse.
Also at the same PAC when the finance ministry’s accounts were being perused, a lot of irregularities were picked up and members of parliament took turns to pour scorns on this country’s purse custodian. Specially Elected MP Mephato Reatile found a disturbing occurrence when looking into revenue results as according to him the treasury’s planning and forecasting leaves a lot to desire.
It was disappointing for Reatile for the ministry whose responsibility is to take care of the public purse to fail to predict economic climate by underestimating what it is going to collect. For example, Reatile said, the ministry would budget P1 million only to receive P28 million. According to Reatile, this is what the ministry discourages but practices, a practice of financial hypocrisy.
According to the Mp, for the estimated P848 million budgeted on Bank of Botswana, P2.8 billion was collected and this shows a huge discrepancy by the treasury. This prompted apologies and admission of guilty on the part of secretary for Development and Budget in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Grace Muzila who said “we did not take note. We missed it (the discrepancy).”
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.
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.
African heads of state and global CEOs at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting backed the launch of the first of its kind report on how public-private partnerships can support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
AfCFTA: A New Era for Global Business and Investment in Africa outlines high-potential sectors, initiatives to support business and investment, operational tools to facilitate the AfCFTA, and illustrative examples from successful businesses in Africa to guide businesses in entering and expanding in this area.
The report aims to provide a pathway for global businesses and investors to understand the biggest trends, opportunities and strategies to successfully invest and achieve high returns in Africa, developing local, sub-regional and continental value chains and accelerating industrialization, all of which go hand in hand with the success of the AfCFTA.
The AfCFTA is the largest free trade area in the world, by area and number of participating countries. Once fully implemented, it will be the fifth-largest economy in the world, with the potential to have a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion. Conceived in 2018, it now has 54 national economies in Africa, could attract billions in foreign investment, and boost overseas exports by a third, double intra-continental trade, raise incomes by 8% and lift 50 million people out of poverty.
To ease the pain of transition to its new single market, Africa has learned from trade liberalization in North America and Europe. “Our wide range of partners and experience can help anticipate and mitigate potential disruptions in business and production dynamics,” said Børge Brende, President, and World Economic Forum. “The Forum’s initiatives will help to ease physical, capital and digital flows in Africa through stakeholder collaboration, private-public collaboration and information-sharing.”
Given the continent’s historically low foreign direct investment relative to other regions, the report highlights the sense of excitement as the AfCFTA lowers or removes barriers to trade and competitiveness. “The promising gains from an integrated African market should be a signal to investors around the world that the continent is ripe for business creation, integration and expansion,” said Chido Munyati, Head of Regional Agenda, Africa, World Economic Forum.
The report focuses on four key sectors that have a combined worth of $130 billion and represent high-potential opportunities for companies looking to invest in Africa: automotive; agriculture and agroprocessing; pharmaceuticals; and transport and logistics.
“Macro trends in the four key sectors and across Africa’s growth potential reveal tremendous opportunities for business expansion as population, income and connectivity are on the rise,” said Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat.
“These projections reveal an unprecedented opportunity for local and global businesses to invest in African countries and play a vital role in the development of crucial local and regional value chains on the continent,” said Landry Signé, Executive Director and Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management and Co-Chair, World Economic Forum Regional Action Group for Africa.
The Forum is actively working towards implementing trade and investment tools through initiatives, such as Friends of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, to align with the negotiation process of the AfCFTA. It identifies areas where public-private collaboration can help reduce barriers and facilitate investment from international firms.
About the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 convenes the world’s foremost leaders under the theme, Cooperation in a Fragmented World. It calls on world leaders to address immediate economic, energy and food crises while laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, resilient world. For further information,