The Board of Directors of Shumba Energy have announced the execution of a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Shumba Energy and Basil Read Mining (BRM).
Basil Read Mining is part of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed Basil Read Holdings Limited Group (BRH), a leading construction and surface mining company in Southern Africa. BRH is an integrated service provider with a proven track-record and advanced expertise in construction, roads, developments and contract mining.
According to a statement released by the Board, Shumba Energy has partnered on technical mining operations specifically with Basil Read Mining to provide contract mining solutions for Shumba Energy’s coal projects in Botswana. Meanwhile BRM specialises in surface contract open pit and opencast mining, which includes drill, blast, load, haul and dump, material handling, in-pit water management, mobile plant maintenance and management services to the mining, quarrying and construction industries.
In addition, BRM will assist Shumba Energyby providing inputs for mine design, scheduling and mine planning, infrastructure development, operations and project management, surveying and optimization services across Sub-Saharan Africa. For his part, Alan Clegg, Chairman of Shumba Energy, commented, "It has been our clear stated intent to select a few strategic operational partners to support our operational business model of using specialised outsourced services to execute our projects. I am very pleased with the foundational nature of this MoU which is the first building block of what we hope will be a long-term relationship with the Basil Read Group.
This MoU is significant as it demonstrates the promised tactical execution of our plans presented to shareholders and entry by Shumba Energy into a new phase of preparation for execution and ultimately start-up of its formal mining operations for thermal coal production and market entry.
This is designed to ensure earliest possible revenue streaming from our developed thermal coal assets in Botswana to cover the companies baseline overhead operating costs without further significant capital raising just for this purpose and to move actively towards having the ability to fund required equity for further development of its projects.” Shumba Energy is an energy development company based in Botswana and listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange and the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.
Shumba Energy has over the last couple years progressed from an exploration company to a development company and sits on over 4.5 billion tonnes of thermal coal in-situ. As a major industry player, Shumba Energy’s mission is to satisfy the growing energy demand in the SADC region as a result of chronic power shortages.
For Shumba Energy “Powering the Future” means addressing chronic power shortages head-on and supplying energy to affected southern African countries in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. Established in 2011, Shumba Energy now owns a significant portion of advanced energy projects in Botswana and is uniquely positioned with its strategy to develop energy projects that are unaffected by the volatility of global commodity price
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”