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Strategic conference to up-skill HR practitioners

The Progressive Institute will on 23 – 24 May host the 2018 Strategic HR Conference at the Avani Resort & Casino in Gaborone. The conference will feature human resources professionals from leading brands such Sage, Forbes Africa, CNBC, DTC Botswana, Debswana, and Stanbic Bank.

Speakers at the event will include, among others Debswana Managing Director Balisi Bonyongo, Forbes Editor Chris Bishop, renowned author and HR expert Dr. Pieter Bronkrost, thought leader and entrepreneur Marlinie Ramsamy as well as international leadership coach Dr. Jerry Gule.

Mmoloki Ossie Mmolotsi, conference organiser and Managing Director of Progressive Institute, explained that the conference will also feature a rich line up of local HR practitioners such as Mlungisi Jackalas- Senior HR Manager at DTC Botswana; Johannes Motshegare- Senior OE & Talent Manager at Debswana; Resource Logic Managing Director Batshu Dambe – Groth; Head of Human Capital at Stanbic Bank Chedza Balopi as well as Regional Executive Director of IDM Richard Malikongwa.

“These are seasoned business leaders and HR practitioners whose expertise will help attendants to recruit future talent, optimise rewards, boost staff retention and drive employee engagement,” said Mmolotsi. The Strategic HR Conference is considered to be the largest gathering of human resource practitioners in Botswana. The Conference will among others discuss the implications of the changing landscape of global trends for HR leaders; explore new and emerging tools for big data and work force planning; and examine challenges and opportunities of globalization and innovation as drivers for growth.

“The new world of work is evolving at an unprecedented pace; and HR practitioners have a huge challenge of meeting the pressures of today’s business environment while playing a leading role at the highest levels of business strategy. The strategic Conference will help them reinvent themselves and optimise their skills,” said Mmolotsi.

He added that the digital age has made managing human capital even more complex. One of the biggest challenges faced by HR managers is attracting the right talent, which is made even more difficult by the fact that job roles, expectations and organisational culture are continuously evolving.

“Because the business environment is continuously changing, HR practitioners are faced with the challenge of helping employees to adapt to changes in the work environment. With globalisation, companies are now sourcing talent from all over the world. It is the responsibility of the HR manager to make manage these diverse cultures and create a workplace that is comfortable and welcoming for everyone,” explained Mmolotsi.

It was with these challenges in mind, he said, that the strategic HR Conference was founded as an event that would enable HR practitioners to up skill themselves so they can face the challenges of today’s  business environment. Convened by the Progressive Institute annually, the Strategic HR Conference, which is expected to draw more than 200 delegates is the largest community and gathering of HR leaders in Botswana and a premier event which showcases trends and discussions on the future of work.

“The SHRC 2018 aims to explore new and emerging tools for big data and work force planning that will be requirements for success in a VUCA world, as well as examine the challenges and opportunities of globalization and innovation as drivers for growth. It will also give participants an opportunity to learn how to foster employee engagement with research based best practices,” said Mmolotsi.

Progressive Institute   holds a reputation of bringing seasoned speakers, last year the organisation housed global pan African orator Professor Lumumba of Kenya Law School .This year‘s theme for SHRC is “Change, Challenges and Opportunities for HR” and it is believed to set the tone for the new world of work which is evolving at an unprecedented pace due to changes in technology, multi-generational workforces and global competition for talent.

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Botswana on high red alert as AML joins Covid-19 to plague mankind

21st September 2020

This century is always looking at improving new super high speed technology to make life easier. On the other hand, beckoning as an emerging fierce reversal force to equally match or dominate this life enhancing super new tech, comes swift human adversaries which seem to have come to make living on earth even more difficult.

The recent discovery of a pandemic, Covid-19, which moves at a pace of unimaginable and unpredictable proportions; locking people inside homes and barring human interactions with its dreaded death threat, is currently being felt.

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Finance Committee cautions Gov’t against imprudent raising of debt levels

21st September 2020
Finance Committe Chairman: Thapelo Letsholo

Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo has cautioned Government against excessive borrowing and poorly managed debt levels.

He was speaking in  Parliament on Tuesday delivering  Parliament’s Finance Committee report after assessing a  motion that sought to raise Government Bond program ceiling to P30 billion, a big jump from the initial P15 Billion.

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Gov’t Investment Account drying up fast!  

21st September 2020
Dr Matsheka

Government Investment Account (GIA) which forms part of the Pula fund has been significantly drawn down to finance Botswana’s budget deficits since 2008/09 Global financial crises.

The 2009 global economic recession triggered the collapse of financial markets in the United States, sending waves of shock across world economies, eroding business sentiment, and causing financiers of trade to excise heightened caution and hold onto their cash.

The ripple effects of this economic catastrophe were mostly felt by low to middle income resource based economies, amplifying their vulnerability to external shocks. The diamond industry which forms the gist of Botswana’s economic make up collapsed to zero trade levels across the entire value chain.

The Upstream, where Botswana gathers much of its diamond revenue was adversely impacted by muted demand in the Midstream. The situation was exacerbated by zero appetite of polished goods by jewelry manufacturers and retail outlets due to lowered tail end consumer demand.

This resulted in sharp decline of Government revenue, ballooned budget deficits and suspension of some developmental projects. To finance the deficit and some prioritized national development projects, government had to dip into cash balances, foreign reserves and borrow both externally and locally.

Much of drawing was from Government Investment Account as opposed to drawing from foreign reserve component of the Pula Fund; the latter was spared as a fiscal buffer for the worst rainy days.

Consequently this resulted in significant decline in funds held in the Government Investment Account (GIA). The account serves as Government’s main savings depository and fund for national policy objectives.

However as the world emerged from the 2009 recession government revenue graph picked up to pre recession levels before going down again around 2016/17 owing to challenges in the diamond industry.

Due to a number of budget surpluses from 2012/13 financial year the Government Investment Account started expanding back to P30 billion levels before a series of budget deficits in the National Development Plan 11 pushed it back to decline a decline wave.

When the National Development Plan 11 commenced three (3) financial years ago, government announced that the first half of the NDP would run at budget deficits.

This  as explained by Minister of Finance in 2017 would be occasioned by decline in diamond revenue mainly due to government forfeiting some of its dividend from Debswana to fund mine expansion projects.

Cumulatively since 2017/18 to 2019/20 financial year the budget deficit totaled to over P16 billion, of which was financed by both external and domestic borrowing and drawing down from government cash balances. Drawing down from government cash balances meant significant withdrawals from the Government Investment Account.

The Government Investment Account (GIA) was established in accordance with Section 35 of the Bank of Botswana Act Cap. 55:01. The Account represents Government’s share of the Botswana‘s foreign exchange reserves, its investment and management strategies are aligned to the Bank of Botswana’s foreign exchange reserves management and investment guidelines.

Government Investment Account, comprises of Pula denominated deposits at the Bank of Botswana and held in the Pula Fund, which is the long-term investment tranche of the foreign exchange reserves.

In June 2017 while answering a question from Bogolo Kenewendo, the then Minister of Finance & Economic Development Kenneth Mathambo told parliament that as of June 30, 2017, the total assets in the Pula Fund was P56.818 billion, of which the balance in the GIA was P30.832 billion.

Kenewendo was still a back bench specially elected Member of Parliament before ascending to cabinet post in 2018. Last week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, when presenting a motion to raise government local borrowing ceiling from P15 billion to P30 Billion told parliament that as of December 2019 Government Investment Account amounted to P18.3 billion.

Dr Matsheka further told parliament that prior to financial crisis of 2008/9 the account amounted to P30.5 billion (41 % of GDP) in December of 2008 while as at December 2019 it stood at P18.3 billion (only 9 % of GDP) mirroring a total decline by P11 billion in the entire 11 years.

Back in 2017 Parliament was also told that the Government Investment Account may be drawn-down or added to, in line with actuations in the Government’s expenditure and revenue outturns. “This is intended to provide the Government with appropriate funds to execute its functions and responsibilities effectively and efficiently” said Mathambo, then Minister of Finance.

Acknowledging the need to draw down from GIA no more, current Minister of Finance   Dr Matsheka said “It is under this background that it would be advisable to avoid excessive draw down from this account to preserve it as a financial buffer”

He further cautioned “The danger with substantially reduced financial buffers is that when an economic shock occurs or a disaster descends upon us and adversely affects our economy it becomes very difficult for the country to manage such a shock”

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