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Khama, MPs to talk more money in July

Members of Parliament deliberately postponed a debate of the Bill set to adjust their salaries by 4 percent and a proposal to increase their constituency allowances by 40 percent because they want a holistic address of their conditions of service. Many observers are of the view that Botswana legislators are poorly remunerated when compared to their peers in the SADC region and elsewhere.


In July this year, Members of Parliament will talk about their conditions of service and their debates will be guided by a proposal tabled by a committee chaired by Gaborone Bonninton North Member of Parliament, Haskins Nkaigwa. Inevitably whatever would be agreed as adjustment to salaries will also benefit the President and Cabinet ministers because they are also Members of Parliament.


President Lt Gen Ian Khama has already secured a lucrative retirement arrangement and package that would see him use any mode of government transport at the discretion of the sitting President and a P34 million office and home. During his early days in the Presidency Khama was a known critique of Members of Parliament demanding high salaries. However following the passage of his retirement package, which some quarters have labelled opportunistic and unreasonable, the President is seen as having lost the moral standing to try and block any demands of salary increases by Members of Parliament. In fact some point out that by giving Khama the package he wants, some BDP MPs were setting events in motion for their Conditions of Service improvements to be looked at favourably.  


Also lined up to benefit is the Minister responsible for the Parliament portfolio, Eric Molale, Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration. Molale is already enjoying a lucrative pension that is valued at E2 scale or P18 000 per month which he attracted as a result of having served in the public service for a long time, leaving at the position of Permanent Secretary to the President. Molale is also netting a salary of about P40 000 a month as Minister. MPs want him to push their proposals so that they can also get better packages at the end of their terms as legislators. They cite examples of disgraced former legislators and ministers who are failing to lead honourable lives because of financial strain.  


Members of Parliament could have easily awarded themselves the 4 percent that was proposed and awarded by government to civil servants albeit challenged successfully in court, but they decided to suspend the award and wait for the July session of Parliament when they will be addressing all issues affecting their conditions of service. In addition to monetary gains, the Members of Parliament are also demanding resources that could help ease their job such as trained research assistants.


The latest move to further adjust Members of Parliament salaries follows a silent execution of increases in April 2015 after a six percent increase in salaries was effected for public servants, Parliament secretly approved a hefty increase of close to 40 percent for the President, Vice President, Leader of Opposition and Members of Parliament by then. It is likely that another heavy percentage will be loaded to their salaries in July, some MPs have however voiced out against the piece meal increases, they want the July session of Parliament to fix their Conditions of Service once and for all.


At the moment salaries and allowances of the National Assembly show that after the passing of the sniper pass of the National Assembly Salaries and Allowances Amendment Bill of 2015, President Khama’s salary was increased by 26 percent to P651, 348 per annum. Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi also had his salary increased as he now pockets P501, 216 per annum or P41, 768 per month. On the other hand, cabinet ministers and the Speaker now earn P439, 656 per annum which translate to P36, 638 monthly. The leader of Opposition, Duma Boko has his new salary pegged at P30, 891 per month or P370, 692 per annum, on par with that of assistant ministers and Deputy Speaker, Kagiso Molatlhegi. The standard expectation was that in the Budget session of Parliament Legislators would have awarded themselves the 4 percent that government has offered civil servants, but they shunned the single digit.


In 2015 ordinary Members of Parliament also hiked their salaries by at least 32 percent from 201, 565.00 in 2014 to P266, 460 annually effective May 2015. Under the new salaries, the chairpersons of parliamentary committees will receive a daily allowance of P59.31 if the committee conducts business on a day that Parliament is not sitting. The Members of Parliament have also had allowances such as constituency, hospitality, communication and acting allowance increased by six percent.


MPS CAUGHT IN GOV’T, UNIONS FIGHT


At the moment Government and the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPPPUSU) are embroiled in a bitter raw over the former’s decision to increase salaries of civil servants unilaterally without the input of the Public Service Bargaining Council. BOFEPPPUSU was forced to take government to court after the 4% unilateral salary increase. As things stand the PSBC will meet on the 18th of April for its first meeting after the High Court directed the Government back to the negotiation table. 

 

The differences between government and trade unions are making the situation difficult for Members of Parliament especially those from the opposition ranks when it comes to debating their conditions of service. Legislators do not want to be seen to be lining their pockets where as their voters are struggling to the same. The public service negotiations on salaries and other conditions of service for the year 2015/16 were the last that went through the PSBC process, after both government and trade unions agreed on a six percent salary increase. Initially trade unions had proposed a 15 percent salary hike while government offered only 4 percent.

 

The trade unions submitted their proposals for negotiations on salary and conditions of service for the year 2015/16 on 25th November 2014 while government submitted its counter proposal on 20th January 2015. For this financial year unions are demanding a 10.5 percent salary increase and government is expected to counter with the 4 percent it has already offered.  

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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