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MPs, Ministers collide over urgency bills

Members of Parliament both from the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) have expressed deep concern over the continuous habit of tabling and passing of almost all bills under certificate of urgency by ministers at the ongoing winter parliament session.

The legislators are concerned that passing almost any bill in this manner will affect the quality of the legislations passed by the national assembly. Further, the legislators are worried that the August house may be abusing the certificate of urgency, although it is guaranteed that bills could be passed as such.

Majority of the bills which are considered to be important have been tabled under the certificate of urgency primarily because, according to cabinet, they should be aligned to certain international standards as required by the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) which Botswana is a subsidiary to. Under ESAAMLG monitoring, there are a lot of loopholes as there is no legal provision that meets the body‘s requirements and recommendations pertaining to dealing with corruption and its related crimes such as money laundering.

This notwithstanding, the legislators have blasted the ministers for failing to adopt and implement the ESAAMLG recommendations as the observations were tabled to the Council of Ministers in 2016. They questioned why the ministers are now, two years hastening to act on the issues. The MPs expressed concern that the ministers are just abusing the legislation as they think that it is a rubber stamp of their bills and certifies their desires.

While debating on the matter, Gabane- Mmakgodi based lawmaker Pius Mokgware said the current cabinet is under performing and boring. He observed that most bills which need ample time for debate and consultation with constituents retabled on urgent basis are not good at all. “This under performing ministers’ habit of passing bills so urgent is abuse of this house and it is not healthy for the country and laws of that particular nature will be of low quality,” said Mokgware.

Gaborone Central MP, Dr Phenyo Butale is also fed up with the proceedings observing that of recent cabinet has been out of order by bringing in laws which they want parliament to rubber stamp. He noted that tabling of bills under certificate of urgency has now become subject to abuse by ministers. He added: “We are here to make laws but not just laws but quality laws which now people are compromising with their boring habit. There is a need to craft and pass quality laws which will align to international standards and these lazy cabinet members have no vision, they are failing us as legislators and the nation at large,” charged an emotional Butale.

Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi said their voice as opposition legislators is taken for granted as the cabinet has full support of numbers from BDP MPs. Mmolotsi pointed out that they should have time to debate the bills and consult with the constituents about the proposed legislations as it used to happen but now things have changed under the current cabinet and administration.

Meanwhile Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Minister Nonofho Molefi said that most of the bills in this current seating forms part of ESAAMLG recommendations. Some of the bills passed under certificate of urgency include among others  Corruption and Economic Crime (Amendment) Bill, Trust Property Control, Customs and Excise Duty Bills, and Judicial Services (Amendment) Bill just to mention a few.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19 presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFIs have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and its financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFIs.

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects.

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money. He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies. Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organizations objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction.

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVAs Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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