Connect with us

Guma close out BDC on P1 billion request

Member of Parliament for Tati East, Samson Guma Moyo has revealed during the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting this week that the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) should not bring back its P1 billion request to parliament because it is a closed matter.

Moyo, who is the Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Public Enterprises found the opportunity to relay his message to BDC this week when the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry Peggy Serame appeared before the PAC. BDC is one of the eleven public enterprises under the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry. “Go and tell BDC that they should not come back with that request now. A decision has been taken and it is a closed matter,” said Moyo.

Last year Moyo had to move swiftly to prevent BDC from acquiring the P1 billion request from parliament when he convinced MPs to divert the matter to his committee to examine the request. A decision has since been reached by the committee that the request by BDC was not in line with what the institution was created to do. The “new BDC” under the stewardship of Bashi Gaetsaloe had managed to convince cabinet about its investment plan but Guma succeeded in preventing a guarantee for the P1 billion loan request.

BDC wanted government to guarantee a loan of P1 billion to invest in different projects of which the investment was expected to produce P1300 jobs locally. Gaetsaloe had presented before Guma’s committee that BDC needed P1 billion of which 70%  was to be spent on investments and the seven percent  be reserved as a buffer when there is need to pump money into a project in need.

Among the proposed projects which were brought before Guma’s committee were; on P45 million  Milk Africa, a milk factory; P200 million on Ba Isago University, a private owned tertiary institution; P250 million on Letshego, a budding micro-lending company; P270 million in construction of Private Estate in Francistown; P30 million on paper project and 280 million on Auto Mobile plant.

BDC has been a centre of debate in recent years with former cabinet ministers being among its critics. BDC was established in 1970 as the country’s investment arm and main agency for commercial and industrial development. BDC’s primary mandate is to drive the Industrialisation of the country by providing financial assistance to investors with commercially viable projects.  BDC provides both debt and equity financing to commercially viable project.

Former Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Charles Tibone last year spoke in support of privatising some public enterprises because government was not getting value of money. He said, public enterprises were prone to slow growth and inefficiencies mentioning BDC as one of them.  Tibone, who resigned as Assistant Minister of Finance in 2011, and left his law making position in 2014, argued that if compared, growth profiles of the BDC and BIHL, both of which are in property and financial services, among other investments, one will notice that one zigzags up and down while the other has an upward trajectory.

Property magnate and former Cabinet Minister David Magang has not spared it either. Magang has continually expressed dissatisfaction with the output of BDC as government’s investment arm. He previously stated that In the 46 years that it has been in existence, BDC’s impact in relation to helping foster the well-being of the economy has been marginal if not wholly inconsequential. The arrival of Gaetsaloe at the once controversy troubled quasi-government institution saw the approach in investment strategy shifting. BDC’s new corporate strategy envisions a BDC that is more flexible, more innovative and that will invest in commercially viable projects in Botswana and internationally.

This week PAC members grilled the Serame over operations of public enterprises including the BDC. One of the committee members, Ndaba Gaolathe argued that there was no need for BDC which was created to spearhead the industrialisation to invest in ventures which do not speak to that or in ventures which are already having good markets and can access funds elsewhere. BDC is also part of envisaged government plan to merge some of its institutions with similar mandate such as CEDA, SPEDU and LEA.

Continue Reading


Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup

29th May 2023

With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.

Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.

The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.

Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.

“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.

Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.

Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.

For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.

Continue Reading


Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.

When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.

Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.

She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.

During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.

Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017

Continue Reading


Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.

According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,  the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.

However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.

“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.

While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.

“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.

The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.




Continue Reading