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Winding up BCL will take years to complete – Liquidator

BCL Provisional Liquidator, Nigel Dixon-Warren says that while significant progress has been made in the winding up of BCL which is in final liquidation, a considerable amount of work still needs to be done.

The KPMG Botswana Senior Partner revealed in his report on BCL Liquidation released recently that the winding up of BCL has proven a complex exercise and is likely to take years to be complete. “The winding up of BCL is complex and will take time to complete, likely years,” he said. The Provisional Liquidator says some of the reasons why the exercise will take time to complete is the status of the records which he says are not up-to-date, the existing and potential legal actions against the company as well as the challenge concerning the disposal of the assets of the company.

The key assets of the company as indicated in the report include the mining s which include the mineral resources, process operations (smelter and concentrator), hospital, residential houses and other properties and equipment which include fabrication workshop and the laboratory. Dixon-Warren states in the report that the BCL also has shareholding in a number of subsidiary Joint Venture companies whose shareholding has been incorrectly allocated to BCL Investment.

“The shareholding needs to be corrected and the financial position revised for both BCL and BCL Investment,” he said. The report further indicates that the majority of these Joint Venture companies were in possession of the prospecting licences which the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Advocate Sadique Kebonang has since suspended in accordance with the Mines Act.

Dixon-Warren says in the report that further investigation is required and it is accordingly recommended. He points out that it is still not fully understood what the assets of the company are and how best they can be disposed. He explains that it has not yet been determined what the expected recovery on debtors is and therefore additional work needs to be done to be able to address these outstanding issues.

He says because the records contains inconsistent and unreliable data, considerable effort is required to reconcile the financial position of the BCL Group and to understand the assets and the potential recoverability. Because of the concerns regarding the integrity of the data already reviewed, there is need to source primary data to be reviewed so that informed decisions can be made based on factual information. All these hurdles further compounds the already complex winding up process of the company notwithstanding the complexity of the operations themselves.

“Poor quality of data also impacts the disposal options as considerable work needs to be done to first ascertain what BCL owns,” states the Provisional Liquidator. The report records that disposing of the assets piecemeal has been identified as a possible solution to the benefit of the creditors which the Provisional Liquidator says he is serving their interests. In overall, Dixon-Warren notes that further investigation is required on the reasons for failure of the company and to find out whether there is any potential liability by the directors of the company or other parties. He says consideration should be given to examining whether a formal inquiry into the BCL failure will be needed.

The Provisional Liquidator has highlighted incompetent management, poor governance and financial mismanagement as reasons for failure of BCL among other reasons. He says that the copper and nickel mining giant had been mismanaged for a significant period of time prior to liquidation. He points out that management and board governance was not only poor but largely absent. Without the continued support from the shareholder, BCL would or should have been wound up some time ago.

The board appears to have had neither the capacity nor the commercial expertise to provide appropriate governance and guidance to the management team, Dixon-Warren has said. He says the assessment of the management team by Min Corp in 2014 and 2015 revealed that management was inexperienced within the copper and nickel sector and either unable or unwilling to execute against plan. Dixon-Warren says he confirms this to be true as it is evidenced by sizeable deviations between actual results and approved plans by management.

Four of the main areas identified by Dixon-Warren and his team where management failed to take adequate steps include Labour structure where he described BCL was top-heavy and overstaffed, Budgeting and planning where he posits that there was lack of both proper budgeting and planning which resulted in realistic and achievable targets not being set. He also identifies Oversight, Competence and Accountability as another area where management failed. Supply chain is another critical area which the Provisional Liquidator says it was poorly managed.

“Poor and inadequate management of supply chain has also been identified as an area that likely contributed to the failure of BCL and warrants further investigation. It has already been determined that there were instances of noncompliance with supply chain policies, processes and procedures,” he said.

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Opposition Will Never Achieve Anything- Nkaigwa

8th April 2021
Haskins Nkaigwa

Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms.  “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.

“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.

“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.

“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”

Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner.  He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.

Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.

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Botswana benefits over P100 million in grants from Japan

7th April 2021
Ambassador HOSHIYAMA

Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.

The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).

“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.

“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”

Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.

From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.

“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.

“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”

In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.

TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.

“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”

Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.

“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.

“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”

Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.

Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.

According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.

“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.

According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).

“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.

“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”

The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.

 

“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”

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Magosi pushes for Cabinet reshuffle

6th April 2021
President Masisi

Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.

The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.

This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.

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