Limkokwing University of Creative Technology scooped the Readers Digest Trusted Brand Gold Award for the best private university in country beating over 20 universities at a glittering ceremony held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Readers Digest Trusted Brand Awards now in their 19th year, are conducted annually, with winners voted entirely by Malaysian consumers, providing a genuine market endorsement for topping the polls. Over eight thousand consumers across five market areas in Asia being Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Philippines were surveyed. Consumers were asked to rate the brands they nominated in a six qualitative criteria comprising of Quality, Value, Innovation, Social Responsibility, Trustworthiness & Credibility and Understanding of Customer Needs.
Winning brands in Malaysia are a mix of local and international names such as Samsung, Bank Islam, Limkokwing University, Blackmores, Top & Spritzer. The Gold Trusted Brands Awards were given to products and services that led the polls in their fields, while Platinum Trusted Brands Awards recognise brands that vastly outpolled their competition.
Receiving the most converted award at the ceremony Nermina Serhatic, from the Founder President of Limkokwing’s office highlighted that the University was humbled to be receiving this award for the third time in a row, which was testament that the University strives to be a centre for excellence in all aspects, hence the consumers prestigious recognition.
Tan Sri Limkokwing and the University that bears his name changed the face of private education through creative approaches that fuse industry experience with academic learning. Thousands of young people from around the world have gained a global tertiary education by virtue of the University’s pioneering and innovative education philosophy which is creativity oriented.
More the 30,000 students study at Limkokwing University’s 12 campuses in Asia, Africa and Europe. Its main campus in KL’s tech-city, Cyberjaya alone holds close to 10,000 students, 80 percent of them from foreign countries and is the nation’s ground breaking University with unrivalled emphasis upon innovation and creativity. The University has changed the tertiary education landscape not only in Malaysia but in every country the University has established itself.
Its inspirational ecosystems and global strategic outlook produces 21st century graduates who are leading social and economic transformational across the globe. The University has played a pivotal role in globalizing Malaysian education and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Sri Dr Mohd Najib Tun Razak, has designated the University as The Global University of Malaysia.
Tan Sri Limkokwing is credited with spearheading the process of reforming many of the world’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector, a vital sub sector of many a country’s education system. His pioneering endeavours in building a strong TVET workforce with high-tech, skill-based training has created generations of young entrepreneurs who are contributing to transforming their nations.
His contributions has been recognised and he has been awarded: Global TVET Leadership for Economic Transformation by the United Kingdom’s globally recognised authority on accreditation of higher education institutions worldwide, ASIC and IVETA (International Vocational Education & Training Association, UK) – TVET UK’s International President – Limkokwing University was declared ‘Global TVET Model University.
In 2016 AISC (Accreditation Service For International Colleges) the United Kingdom based globally recognized authority on accreditation of higher education institutions worldwide, has designated Limkokwing University as the Global T.V.E.T. (Tertiary Vocational Education Training) Model University and awarded the President/Founder of the University, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Panduka Dr. Limkokwing, Transformational Leadership in Global T.V.E.T. Education.
The University is also recognised as Malaysia’s University of Edu-Tourism in recognition of its achievement attracting youths to the country. QS Apple (Asia Pacific Professional Leaders in Education) designated the University as the University of the Future, the Ministry of Higher Education awarded the accolade University of Innovation and the Malaysian government recognizes Limkokwing University and the University of Transformation. In addition, the University has won more than 200 awards for creativity and innovation in education from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Africa over the last few years.
The University’s award winning website attracts 300 million ‘hits’ a year from 229 countries and territories and the University is now among the Top Ten of the world’s most popular universities on Facebook and Twitter(3rd). ASIC recognizes the University’s successful systematic delivery of industry-relevant programmes across the globe as well as its Founder and President’s pioneering efforts in education.
Readers Digest is one of the best loved global magazines. Since its inception in 1922, the magazine has continued to grow and expand. Each month it is published in multiple languages around the world, with a global readership of over 40million people.
The partnership between Debswana and Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) which was announced a fortnight ago will create under 100 direct jobs, and scores of job opportunities for citizens in the value chain activities.
In a major milestone, Debswana and BOL jointly announced that the fuel supply to Debswana, which was in the past serviced by foreign companies, will now be reserved for citizen companies. The total value of the project is P8 billion, spanning a period of five years.
“About 88 direct jobs will be created through the partnership. These include some jobs which will be transferred from the current supplier to the new partnership,” Matida Mmipi, Head of Stakeholder Relations at Botswana Oil, told BusinessPost.
“We believe this partnership will become a blueprint for other citizen initiatives, even in other sectors of the economy. Furthermore, this partnership has succeeded in unlocking opportunities that never existed for ordinary citizens who aspire to grow and do business with big companies like Debswana.”
Mmipi said through this partnership, BOL and Debswana intend to impact citizen owned companies in the fuel supply value chain that include transportation, supply, facilities maintenance, engineering, customs clearance, trucks stops and its support activities such as workshop / maintenance, tyre services, truck wash bays among others.
“The number of companies to be on-boarded will be determined by the economics at the time of engagement,” she said. BOL will play a facilitatory role of handholding and assisting emerging citizen-owned fuel supply and fuel transportation companies to supply Debswana’s Jwaneng and Orapa Letlhakane Damtshaa (OLDM) mines with diesel and petrol for their operations.
“BOL expects to increase citizen companies’ market share in the fuel supply and transportation industries, which have over the years been dominated by foreign-owned suppliers. Consequently, the agreement will also ensure security of supply for Debswana operations, which are a mainstay of the Botswana economy,” Mmipi said.
“Furthermore, BOL will, under this agreement, transfer skills to citizen suppliers and transporters during the contract period and ensure delivery of competent and skilled citizen suppliers and transport companies upon completion of the agreement.”
Mmipi said the capacitating by BOL is limited to providing citizen companies oil industry technical capability and capacity to deliver on the requirements of the contract, when asked on helping citizen companies to access funding.
“BOL’s mandate does not include financing citizen empowerment initiatives. Securing funding will remain the responsibility of the beneficiaries. This could be through government financing entities including CEDA or through commercial banks. Further to this, there are financial institutions that have already signed up to support the Debswana Citizen Economic Empowerment Programme (CEEP),” Mmipi indicated.
While BOL is established by government as company limited by guarantee, it will not benefit financially from the partnership with Debswana, as citizen empowerment in the petroleum value chain is core to BOL’s mandate.
“BOL does not pursue citizen facilitation for financial benefit, but rather we engage in citizen facilitation as a social aspect of our mandate. Citizen facilitation comes at a cost, but it is the right thing to do for the country to develop the oil and gas industry,” she said.
Mmipi said supplying fuel to Debswana comes with commercial benefits such as supply margins. These have traditionally been made outside the country when supply was done by multi-nationals for a period spanning over 50 years. With BOL anchoring supply for Debswana, this benefit will accrue locally, and BOL will be able to pay taxes and dividends to the shareholders in Botswana.
PwC Africa has presented the eighth edition of the VAT in Africa Guide – Africa re-emerging. This backdrop of renewal informs on the re-emergence of African economies and societies which have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this edition, which has been compiled by PwC Africa’s indirect tax experts, covers a total of 41 African countries. It is geared towards sharing insight with our clients based on the constantly changing tax environments that can have a significant impact on business operations.
Within Africa, governments continue to focus on expanding the tax net by improving revenue collection through efficient compliance systems and procedures. PwC Africa has observed that revenue authorities also continue to take a keen interest in indirect taxes as part of revenue mobilisation initiatives.
Maturing VAT system and upskilling SARS
“In South Africa, VAT is becoming more relevant as a revenue source for the government,” says Matthew Besanko, PwC South Africa’s Indirect Tax Leader. “Strides have been made to upskill South African Revenue Service (SARS) staff and identify VAT revenue leakages, particularly in respect of foreign suppliers of electronic services to people and businesses in South Africa.”
Broadening the tax base and digital economy
In the past year, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe saw updates to their VAT legislation, or introduced specific legislation targeting electronically supplied services (ESS), which is in line with the global trend of attempting to tax the digital economy. “The expectation is that Botswana will also introduce VAT legislation in due course, while the National Treasury in South Africa has also made mention of revising the rules to account for further developments in the digital economy,” Besanko says.
South Africa’s National Treasury has also drafted legislation with the intention to introduce a reverse charge on gold, which is expected to come into effect later in 2022. While in Zimbabwe, revenue authorities have introduced a tax on the export of raw medicinal cannabis ranging between 10% and 20%, which came into effect on 1 January 2021.
ESG and carbon tax
Key strides have also been made within the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) space. “ESG leadership, strategising and reporting is essential now for organisations that wish to flourish and remain relevant,” Kabochi says. He adds that companies need to consider how ESG and tax intersect, since tax is a significant value driver when businesses need to deliver on their ESG goals.
In South Africa, a carbon tax regime, which is being implemented in three phases, has been adopted. The second phase was scheduled to start in January 2023, however phase one was extended by three years until 31 December 2025.
Until then, taxpayers will enjoy substantial tax-free allowances which reduce their carbon tax liability. At the beginning of 2022, the South African government increased the carbon tax rate to R144 (about US$9), which is expected to increase annually to enable South Africa to uphold its COP26 commitments.
With effect from 1 January 2023, carbon tax payers in South Africa will also be required to submit carbon budgets and adhere to the provisions of the carbon budgeting system which will be governed by the Climate Change Bill. Where set carbon budgets are exceeded, the government plans to impose penalties. “At PwC, we are continuously focused on our renewed global strategy, ” The New Equation,” Kabochi says. “Through this strategy, a key focus area for PwC Africa is to support clients in adding value to their ESG ambitions and building trust through sustained outcomes.”
The New Equation is also an acknowledgement of the fundamental changes in the business environment in which PwC’s clients and other stakeholders operate. PwC continues to reinvent and adapt to these changes as a community of problem solvers, combining knowledge and human-led technology to deliver quality services and value.
Local and international economists have lowered their projections on Botswana’s economic growth for 2022 and 2023, saying the country is highly likely to fail to maintain high growth rate recorded in 2021 hence will not reach initial forecasts.
Economists this week lowered 2022 forecasts for Botswana’s economic growth rate, from the initial 5.3% to 4.8% and added that in 2023 growth could further decline to 4.0%. The lower projections come on the backdrop of an annual economic growth that recovered sharply in 2021 with figures showing that year-on-year real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth increased to 11.4%, up from a contraction of 8.7% in 2020.
Economists from the local research entity, E-consult, this week stated that the 2021 double digit growth that exceeded projections made at the time of the 2022 budget may be short lived due to other developments taking place in the global economy. E-consult Economist Sethunya Kegakgametse stated that the war in Ukraine has worsened supply problems in the global economy and added that before the war, macroeconomic indicators were seen as improving and returning to pre-COVID levels.
According to the economist the global economy was projected to improve in 2022 and 2023. Recent figures show that global growth projections have been revised downwards from the initial forecast of 4.9% in 2022 with the World Bank’s new estimate for global growth in 2022 at 3.2%.
The statistics also shows that International Monetary Fund revised their growth projections for 2022 and 2023 down by 0.8% and 0.2% respectively, falling to 3.6% for both years. “The outbreak of war has severely dampened the global recovery that was under way following the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the economist.
She stated that despite Botswana being geographically removed from the conflict, the country has not and will not be exempt from the disruptions in the global economy. “The disruptions to global supply chains resulting from the war will have a negative effect on both Botswana’s growth and trade activities.
The economic sanctions against diamonds from Russia will add uncertainty to the market which will have knock on effects to Botswana’s growth, exports, and government revenues,” said the economists who added that the disruptions are driving prices up and result with very high inflation in the local economy.
Kegakgametse projected that in an attempt to limit inflation Bank of Botswana will be forced to raise interest rate “Should the sharp increase in both global and local inflation persist, Bank of Botswana much like other central banks around the world will be forced to raise interest rates in a bid to control rising prices. This would mean an end to the expansionary monetary policy stance that had been adopted post COVID-19 to aid economic growth,” she said.
In the latest projections, the UK based economic research entity Fitch Solutions lowered 2022 real GDP growth forecast for Botswana from 5.3% to 4.8% “In 2023, we see economic growth rate decelerating to 4.0%,” said Fitch Solutions economists who also noted that the 2022 and 2023 economic growth projections may come out lower than the current forecasts, as it is possible that new vaccine-resistant virus variants may be identified, which could result in the re-implementation of restrictions. “In such circumstances, we cannot rule out that Botswana’s economy may post weaker growth than our baseline scenario currently assumes,” said the economists.
According to the projections, Fitch Solution stated that there is limited scope for Botswana government to increase diamond production and exports, following the economic sanctions imposed on Russian diamond mining companies operating in Botswana. The research entity added that De Beers is unlikely to scale up diamond output from Botswana in order to prop up diamond prices.