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Zimbabweans dominate work permit holders

Statistics Botswana has revealed that the majority of work permit holders during the third quarter of 2017 were from Zimbabwe at 2,398 persons (47.4 percent), followed by South Africa at 807 persons (15.5 percent,)  and Indian Sub-Continent with 440 persons (9.1 percent).

According to a report released at the end of December the total number of work permit holders that were valid as of end of September 2017 was 5,242. Of these 4,417 (84.3 percent) were employees while 825 (15.7 percent) were self – employed. Overall, male work permit holders at 78.9 percent were higher than their female counterparts (21.1 %).

“Employee work permit holders consist of those holding new work permits and those whose work permits have been renewed. 3,754 permit holders were new employee work permits, while 663 held renewed ones. Males outnumbered females for both new and renewed work permit holders,” reads the Statistics Botswana report signed off by Statistician General, Annah Majelantle.

In the new work permit holder’s category, males accounted for 66.4 percent of total employee work permit holders compared to 17.8 percent for females. For the renewed work permit holders, male employees work permit holders accounted for 11.4 percent of the total employee work permit holders compared with 4.3 percent for females.

The report further indicates that total work permits holders were increasing in the first quarter of 2017 but started to decline in the second quarter of 2017 and increased again in the third quarter of 2017. Between December 2016 and March 2017, total work permits holders increased by 605 persons, from 5,293 in December 2016 to 5,898 in March 2017, an increase of 11.4 percent. Between June 2017 and September 2017, total work permits holders decreased by 513 persons, from 5,755 in June 2017 to 5,242 in September 2017, a decrease of 8.9 percent. Comparing December 2016 with September 2017 total work permits holders decreased by 51 persons, a decrease of 1.0 percent.

WORK PERMIT HOLDERS BY AGE, INDUSTRY, QUALIFICATION

The same Statistics Botswana quarterly report indicates that age distribution shows that a large number of work permit holders were in the 40 – 44 years age group, at 19.2 percent of total work permit holders, followed by the 35-39 and 30-34 years age groups at 18.6 and 16.8 percent respectively.

For the self-employed category, age group 40 – 44 had the largest share with 166 permit holders (20.1 percent) followed by the 45 – 49 age group with 147 permit holders (17.8 percent). For employee work permit holders, the 35-39 age group stood at 846 permit holders (19.2 percent) followed by age group 40-44 with 843 work permit holders (19.1 percent). Work permit holders of youth, aged 15-35 accounted for 1519, which is 29 percent of the total work permit holders.

The reports notes that overall, Agriculture had the largest work permit holders at 29.3 percent, followed by Construction with 14.6 percent. Manufacturing was third with 9.2 percent work permit holders. For the employee work permit holders, Agriculture Industry accounted for 33.2 percent of employee work permit holders, followed by Construction with 15.7 percent. For the self-employed work permit holders’ category, Wholesale & Retail Trade was above other industries, recording 31.9 percent of work permit holders, followed by Real Estate and Manufacturing

Meanwhile the largest proportion is found in the elementary occupations with 1358 persons (30.7 percent), followed by the Professionals with 955 persons (21.6 percent) and Managers/Administrators at 791 persons (17.9 percent). In terms of training, among the employee work permit holders, 43.8 percent (1,933) had No Training or had not stated if they have any training. Degree holders accounted for 27.6 percent (1217) of work permit holders with known training status. Diploma holders accounted for, 17.1 percent (754), while Certificate holders contributed 11.6 percent (513) of employee work permit holders.

Furthermore, Engineering & Allied programs and Craft programs topped the work permit holders with known training status, accounting for 14.0 percent and 8.4 percent respectively. These were followed by work permit holders with Commercial, Clerical and Business & Public Administration programs training at 7.5 percent.

“Work permits represent an authorization issued by the Department of Labour and Social Security allowing nationals of other countries to work legally in the country. Data on work permits are collected by reasons for issuing such permits. The main reasons for issuing such permits are employment, education, family, and other reasons. The analysis of permit in this brief is confined only to work permits, drawn from National administrative registers and databases,” explained Majelantle.

The Department of Labour and Social Security issues work-permits, and copies of approved work-permit applications are forwarded to Statistics Botswana to be analysed. Although all work permit forms received by Statistics Botswana for a specific quarter are processed and entered into the data base, others arrive after the publication of the stats brief, and are captured for analysis for the subsequent publication, she said.

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Inflation spike building further upwards

27th October 2020
Inflation spike

In the coming months prices will go up and inflation will shoot sharply above the target of 3 percent to 6 percent towards the third quarter of 2021, the Bank of Botswana on the other hand will continue to withhold its knife on the Bank Rate. This is according to a forecast made by Kgori Capital in its recent Market Watch Segment.

Statistics from Statistics Botswana show that the recent 1.8 percent increase in the September inflation, from 1 percent in August, was a reflection of the upward adjustment in public transport fares (Transport (from -6.9 to -3.9 percent) in September 2020, which is estimated to have increased inflation by approximately 0.64 percentage points.

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Plans to erase Edgars, Jet trademark from Botswana malls underway

27th October 2020
Edgars Jet trademark

Local anti-trust body, Competition and Consumer Authority (CCA), this month received back to back acquisition proposals from South African clothing retailers to wipe out their former rivals, Edcon, from Botswana malls.

Last week BusinessPost was in possession of Merger Notice No 23 of 2020 whereby a South African clothing retailer owner, Retailability Proprietary Limited, through Oclin Proprietary Limited, proposed to acquire parts of the Edgars business conducted by Edcon in Botswana (through Edcon Botswana), as a going concern, consisting of certain assets and identified liabilities.

South African government’s Business Rescue Practitioners earlier this year announced that Retailability will buy Edgars, after the latter filed for a business rescue plan in April after it failed to pay suppliers. This move will see Retailability add Edgars to its portfolio consisting of brands such as; Legit, Beaver Canoe and Style.

Retailability landed on Botswana shores 18 years ago with its flamboyant urban fashion Style which had 17 stores. Style, having almost the same target market as Edgars as it offers men’s and ladies’ contemporary and formal fashion, gave the 91 year old legendary clothing retailer a run for its money, and has won the battle as its parent company has taken over Edgars.

Retailability brands are synonymous with Botswana shopping centres and there are currently five (5) Beaver Canoe stores, 10 Style stores and seven (7) Legit stores across this country. The Beaver Canoe stores sell clothing apparel for men and boys only. The Legit stores have a fashion store format which focuses on the retailing of clothing, footwear, accessories, colour cosmetics and cellular products.

Retailability operates in over 460 stores across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini. Many observers suggest that because of the deal with Retailability to swallow Edcon, most Edgars stores in Botswana will change their name and be branded Style. A sad tale for religious consumers of the Edgars trademark who got used to love their favourite brand for years.

According to CCA’s Merger Notice No 23 of 2020, Retailability is controlled by Clifford Raymond Lines (through a company which functions solely as a holding company of his interests in Retailability) and Metier Investment and Advisory Services Proprietary Limited (“Metier”). Metier is a private equity enterprise with investments in a number of industries spanning from healthcare, hospitality, FMCGs and telecommunications.

Retailability directors are mostly South Africans; Clifford Raymond Lines, Mark Richard Friday and Norman Victor Drieselmann. Only Nasreen Essack, who was appointed February this year, is a Motswana. He comes after Brian Thuto Tsima left on the same date. Retailability 100 percent owns Oclin Proprietary Limited, the company it is acquiring Edgars with, by a capacity of 3000 shares.

The target business, Edgars, offer textiles, cosmetics and cellular products. Edcon has a Motswana director, Charles Mzwandile Vikisi, a South African, Shane Van Niekerk and Zimbabwean Jethro Kamutsi.

“The Target Business comprises of two (2) Edgars franchise brands and private label stores across Botswana. These stores target middle to upper income customers and are home to a range of private label brands such as Free2BU, Charter Club and Stone Harbour, and a wide range of market label brands (such as Levi’s and Guess) for clothing, footwear and cosmetics.

In addition, the Target Business operates iconic Edgars Home and Edgars Beauty stores as store-in-store formats rounding out the department store offering in Botswana,” said CCA.
Foshini also lines up to take Jet Botswana from Edcon.

The Foschini Group (TFG) released a statement confirming its latest intentions to acquire Edcon assets or Jet for a cash purchase consideration of R480 million. This was after the business rescue practitioners offered TFG to buy Jet by that amount.

CCA is currently mulling on a proposed merger by TFG to take over Jet operations in Botswana. Merger Notice No 21 of 2020 from TFG came a few days before the Retailability proposal. In this merger TFG, acting through Foschini Botswana, want to take over “parts” of the Jet business conducted by Edcon through Jet Supermarkets Botswana.

TFG will be willing to add Jet to its portfolio of 30 retail brands that trade in clothing, footwear, jewellery, sportswear, homeware, cell phones, and technology products from value to upper market segments throughout more than 4085 outlets in 32 countries on five continents. TFG will also get Jet’s distribution centre located in Durban and certain stores in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini. Also part of this fat deal is that the company is looking to also acquire JET Club and all existing JET stock of no less than R800 million.

Johannesburg listed TGF owns Foschini Retail Group which owns the local operations called Foschini Botswana, the acquiring enterprise according to CCA merger notice. “TFG is not controlled by any enterprise/s and for completeness, the three largest shareholders of TFG holding shares greater than 5% as at 27th March 2020 are: Government Employees Pension Fund (16.2%) Public Investment Corporation (13.2%); Old Mutual Limited (6.7%); and Investec Asset Management (6.3%). The remaining issued share capital in TFG is widely held,” said the merger notice.

Only Abdool Rahim Khan is a Motswana in the Foschini Botswana directorship, the rest; Ganeswari Shani Naidoo, Anthony Edward Thunström and Gustav Jansen (alternate director) are South Africans.

According to the CCA merger, the Jet Business is Edcon’s discount department store division, selling clothing, footwear, homeware and some cosmetics as well as cellular products and targets lower-to-middle income consumers throughout Botswana. The Jet Business does not directly or indirectly control any enterprises, says the notice. CCA seeks any stakeholder views for or against the proposed merger, which may be sent within 10 days from date of this publication to the following address.

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Business

BOCRA, associates to provide broadband internet in schools

27th October 2020

Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority BOCRA signed a memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Ministries of Transport and Communications (MTC), Basic Education (MoBE) as well as Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD).

The MoA seeks to continue the collaboration that dates back to 2016 when the three parties first agreed to work together in a project aimed at computerizing and providing broadband Internet to primary schools in remote and underserved areas of Botswana.

The project benefitted 68 primary schools and 9 secondary schools through the construction of Local Area Network (LAN) in each primary school, provision of 5 Mbps dedicated broadband Internet to each Primary School and provision of Wi-Fi enabled tablets, laptops and related peripherals such as printers and copiers.

Further, the project will see the augmentation of computers in 9 Junior Secondary Schools with 30 laptops per identified school and employment of Information Technology (IT) officers at each primary school.

When speaking at the signing ceremony in Gaborone, Chief Executive of BOCRA and Chairperson of Universal Access and Service Fund (UASF) Board of Trustees Martin Mokgware said the project’s ultimate goal is to facilitate pupils in schools and host villages to be able to play a meaningful role in the digital economy.

Mokgware indicated that this necessitates upgrading of existing Telecommunications infrastructure to high capacity broadband that will support delivery of education, accessibility to the quality Internet and usage of ICTs.

The Fund began its inaugural programme by sponsoring the provision of WiFi hotspots in public areas around the country as its first project. Following the successful implementation of public WiFi hotspots, the Fund identified Kgalagadi, Ghanzi and Mabutsane areas for mobile network upgrades, schools computerization and internet provision.

Conscious that the project would not be possible without buy-in and support from MoBE, MTC and MLGRD, the Fund facilitated the signing of the first MoU between the three parties in 2016 for implementation of the project.

BOCRA Chief Executive said the signing of this agreement is aimed at benefitting the Kweneng District, adding that they have already assessed the area and have determined that they will be covering 62 underserved villages and 119 schools, 91 of which are primary schools.

“This is a project for which the partner Ministries need to re-commit for its success. Lessons from the previous schools’ computerization and internet connectivity project require that we increase our involvement and resources dedicated to the project for it to be successful. It is my belief as the project coordinator, that we will not do things the way we did them during the first project, for if we do, then we will not have learnt anything,” he said at the signing ceremony.

The purpose of learning is so that there can be continuous improvement to minimize the length of time and amount of resources utilized, he said expressing confidence that their partners will step up to the plate and ensure they play their part in the implementation of the project and that it will progress smoothly having already tread along a similar path.

UASF’s role lies mainly in funding and project management. According to Mokgware, once the project is completed, the work to integrate ICTs into the classroom begins in earnest. Therefore, he said, the project will not succeed without full cooperation and oversight of partners.

“MoBE will put in place the necessary content and ensure that the curriculum is available to all. MLGRD will provide, among others, the enabling environment by ensuring readiness of the school’s infrastructure and necessary security.”

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