Botswana ‘s leading service business professional service provider, Grant Thornton and Business Botswana, have collaborated with the Botswana Investment Trade Centre(BITC) to deliver a mouthwatering private sector business award targeted at promoting growth in the non-government engaged economic activates.
On their third year running the awards recognize privately owned businesses in Botswana that approach growth from both a strategic and a holistic perspective and create a positive impact well beyond their bottom line. The awards pioneers, Grant Thornton says the stories of Botswana private companies committed to strategic and holistic growth need to be shared, not only to draw attention to these phenomenal businesses and their impressive achievements, but to illustrate to the country that it can be done.
The Private Business Growth Awards provide a great opportunity to share and celebrate private sector inspirational stories, economic growth, diversification and promote job creation. First held in 2015, the awards have since grown and gained recognition from different stakeholders. This year‘s awards have attracted government aided private sector and investment facilitators, Botswana Investment & Trade Centre (BITC).
Speaking at a media briefing recently, Grant Thornton Botswana executive, Mr Vijay Kalyanaraman highlighted that the coming onboard of BITC gives the awards important recognition and raise awareness about initiative. “The collaboration with BITC would see the awards grow to another level and every business across the country would be included,” he noted. Anticipating growth in this year’s awards, Kalynaraman observed that the previous awards entries were companies mainly from Gaborone explaining that this time around they have expanded to cover other parts of Botswana.
Acting BITC Chief Executive Officer, Mr Meshack Tshekedi observed that their support for the awards was influenced by the fact that as a investment promotion organization, the initiative afforded them a opportunity to further their mandate and recognize companies that contribute to the quest of building a private sector led economy.
Mr Tshekedi revealed that the BITC would introduce new awards in four categories to include the manufacturing sector, the services sector and Innovation and Exporter of the year in line with their interest and mandate of export promotion from the manufacturing sector.
The BITC CEO indicated that the emphasis on the Innovation category would be in recognition of a company that had clearly demonstrated market intelligence and unique approach to exploring new opportunities. On the other hand, the Exporter of the Year they would handpick a company which has proved to have a consistent and significant stake in the export space.
A representative from Business Botswana noted that the awards appreciate and recognize growth orientated and good corporate governance as the business entities awarded would be those that have demonstrated high levels of innovation, strategic management, sound market development, sustainable and holistic growth and had contributed substantially towards economic growth.
Ms Zoe Issacs said Business Botswana pledges to support the awards because they complement their effort as private sector advocates. “This initiative promotes employment creation, innovation and contributed to the government efforts of economic diversification drive as well as foreign direct investment,” she said.
Scheduled for sometime after August this year, The Private Business Growth awards were established to encourage private sector development and to recognize private companies that had operated for over five years with over 100 employees. According to the awards organizers the entrants for the awards would submit applications by mid August this year to be considered for the prestigious recognition. Form different categories the previous awards were won by Nashua, Chobe Marina Lodge, Parts Sales Botswana, Flo-Tek, Motovac just to name but a few
Grant Thornton is the second largest professional services firm in Botswana offering a wide range of business advisory services in addition to audit, tax, outsourcing and corporate services.
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.
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.
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”