The Board chairman of the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), Victor Jakopo Senye has announced the end of Chief Executive Officer, Letsebe Sejoe’s contract, further indicating that Chief Operations Officer, Meshack Tshekedi shall act as CEO of the parastatal.
Sejoe’s contract expired at the end of February and the Board decided not to renew it. Indications are that the Board was not happy with Sejoe’s performance hence the decision not to renew his contract. There are already speculations on the corridors of the BITC as to who could be next to head the BITC.
While Tshekedi has been asked to act in the meantime, possibilities are that he may be preffered at his COO position and a new person will be brought in to lead the BITC. Weekend Post learns that former CEDA boss, Thapelo Matsheka and former Bank of Botswana Governor Linah Mohohlo’s names are already being touted as potential replacement to Sejoe.
In his last statement in the BITC 2016 Annual report, Sejoe pointed out that the “BITC’s fourth year of operation was driven by focus on increasing Botswana’s share of Africa’s foreign direct investment by attracting more investment into the country and equally increasing citizen participation through domestic investment promotion.
The organisation during the period under review developed and packaged value propositions for various prioritised sectors of the economy, largely driven by the desire to adopt a sector specific approach when attracting investment into Botswana that will require building inhouse skills and domain expertise in the respective sectors.”
He further said the value propositions were developed in sectors such as automotive components manufacturing, leather, cargo and logistics, Soda Ash, Beef and ICT. “The value propositions are equally important to the local business community, as they highlight existing investment opportunities that Batswana may not have previously been aware of. In addition to articulating why Botswana is an attractive investment destination, the value propositions provide detailed information on Botswana’s global positioning within the respective sector; global and regional market dynamics; Botswana’s competitive advantage including available sector specific incentives; as well as the legal and regulatory framework that is to be complied with.”
Sejoe wrote that: According to the World Investment Report 2016, FDI flows into Africa fell to $54 billion in 2015, a decrease of 7% from the previous year. The top five FDI recipient economies were Angola, Egypt, Mozambique, Morocco and Ghana. An upturn in investment into North African economies such as Egypt was offset by decreasing flows into SubSaharan Africa, especially in the resource-based economies in West and Central Africa.
Further, Sejoe stated that “In Southern Africa, FDI flows increased marginally by 2% to US$17.9 billion, mainly driven by large inflows in Angola. After several years of negative flows, Angola attracted a record US$8.7 billion of FDI in 2015, becoming the largest recipient in Africa, largely driven by loans provided to Angolan affiliates by their foreign parent companies. Major projects were in the oil and gas industry mainly dominated by global oil majors from Britain, Italy, France and the United States. Prospects reveal that FDI into Africa could return to a growth path in 2016, increasing by an average of 6%.”
PERFORMANCE REVIEW: SEJOE RATES HIMSELF Although there is an opinion that he had not delivered to the expected level, Sejoe has a different, at least according to what he wrote in the BITC 2016 annual report:
“Despite intensified international competition for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and export markets, BITC achieved an overall annual organisational performance of 90% on the corporate scorecard during the period under review. Our targeted investment promotion efforts resulted in a total capital investment amounting to P3.12bn exceeding our annual target of P1.6bn.
From the total capital investment achieved, FDI companies contributed P1.49bn, while business expansions and domestic investments contributed P377.05m and P1.25bn respectively. The financial services sector represented the largest contribution to this performance at 58.7%.
Other sectors that contributed to investment realised include Mining, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Property, Tourism and Transport and Logistics. The companies that invested were from countries such as South Africa, India, Canada, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and China. Total employment of 1,703 jobs resulted from these investments falling short of desired outcomes due to the capital intensive nature of the financial services sector, which was the largest contributor to the investment realised.
The mining and manufacturing sectors contributed more significantly toward jobs created during the period under review. BITC’s export portfolio exceeded its target of P2bn reaching a total generated export value of P2.1bn contributed by forty four (44) BITC client companies exporting thirty six (36) product lines. A notable development in this regard was the diversification of export products resulting in an increase of nine (9) new products being introduced to the export market.
Markets penetrated by the local products during the period include Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Hong Kong and the European Union. In an effort to grow BITC’s product portfolio, the organisation diagnosed several companies for export readiness.
The companies are to be supported with capacity building interventions through BITC’s partnership with Senior Experten Services (from Germany) such that they are capacitated to provide goods and services of a standard quality that can compete effectively in the international market place.
Our investor value added services delivered through the Business Facilitation Services Centre (BFSC) continued to facilitate for investors to access Government authorisations. BITC continues to realise an increase in the demand for facilitation services compared to authorisations processed in the previous year. The increase in the demand for BITC services signifies the difficult business environment that companies experience when they proceed on their own.
Our efforts to improve and advocate for a conducive business environment continue through increased strategic stakeholder engagement including the signing of Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) with five (5) Government Departments to streamline various Government authorisations including the acquisition of manufacturing and industrial licenses for BITC assisted investors. BITC continues to impress upon key role players within Government to enhance the certainty and predictability of outcomes for various Government authorisations.”
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.