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New BITC tv program to promote locally produced goods

Botswana Investment & Trade Center (BITC) has introduced a program aimed at promoting locally produced goods and products. It also raises awareness on existing investment opportunities in the manufacturing sector and other economic sectors that can diversify the economy away from mining and ultimately create the much needed jobs.

According to Kutlo Moagi, Director Corporate Communications at BITC, the center always explores innovative ways to market Botswana products, disseminate information on the centre‘s mandate and increase visibility of the organization. Speaking to this reporter, Moagi said the new television program dubbed ‘’Making in Botswana’’ showcases processes used to produce different products in Botswana. “BITC highlights just how this established manufacturing industries impact everyday life of all Batswana through job creation, skills and technology transfer, economic growth etc,” she said

Making It in Botswana which started airing on Botswana Television this past Monday September 18th provides a platform through a step by step process highlighting the quality and standards involved in making various products in Botswana. BITC states that these will allow viewers to appreciate the quality of the products they use and the complexity involved in making the products. ‘’Making It in Botswana’’ is expected to educate consumers on these products and make them appreciate them more.

The Corporate Communication Executive further explained that the name “Making It in Botswana” has a two pronged meaning – she says it speaks to both producing quality goods and products in Botswana and running a successful business. “As an investment promotion agency we must take a lead and actively show why Botswana is primarily the best place to do business in Africa and this can only be achieved by promoting industries and businesses that have been there, done that, and show how they have leveraged the partnerships and business development frameworks available in the county,” explained Moagi.

She says the show is premised on the BITC brand “Go Botswana”. BITC’s “Making It in Botswana” television program which is expected to run for 13 episodes during the first phase is intended to amongst other things, promote Botswana’s manufacturing industry and create awareness on the different products being manufactured in Botswana; encourage and showcase to Batswana that it is possible to produce Botswana goods; and that there are a lot of manufacturing opportunities in the county.

Furthermore, the BITC observes that the show will showcase testimonies of existing companies especially those assisted by BITC to set up or access foreign and domestic market. The show also profiles and provides exposure to all participating companies as well as encourage Batswana to buy locally produced products. The target audience for Making It in Botswana includes entrepreneurs, potential and existing local investors, General public, government, BITC stakeholders, Media and Batswana at large

The television program features a number of manufacturing companies from different sectors of the economy and from different areas such as Kasane, Maun, Selibe Phikwe , Francistown, Lobatse, Mmamashia, and Gaborone.  Companies featured on the show include, Flotek, NaPro, Ebony, Green Reeds, AliBoats, KGK Diamonds, Bokomo Botswana, Nortex, Babic Holdings, Dinesh Textiles, Mane Blocks Holdings, Sola Power, Gabs Bedding, Makoro Bricks, Kalahari Canvas, Fiber Land, Crittal Hope, Sally diary, Chloride Exide Botswana etc. The products featured include tomato sources, Towels, Boats, Maize Meal, Bath tubs, solar panels, car batteries, caravans, tents, Window frames, Beds, bricks, protective clothing, Juice and sour milk.

Recent reports indicates that Botswana Investment & Trade Center (BITI) registered P377 million of investment expansions resulting from their investor aftercare program, which encourages companies to reinvest locally. FDI attracted through BITC in 2015 amounted to P1.493 billion compared to P1.489 billion the previous year, while domestic investment amounted to P1.253 billion compared to P238.4 million the previous year. In 2015, BITC further facilitated exports valued at P2.2 billion

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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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