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UDC proposes 17 % public servant salary increment

Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) Vice President, Ndaba Gaolathe, has informed parliament that if his party had its way,  public servant salaries will be increased by 17% with immediate effect and set on a path for creating a highly productive and incentivised workforce.


Gaolathe, who was standing in for Leader of Opposition, Duma Boko, in Parliament this week, contended that if such decision is taken, salary increases in the ensuing years would decline and plans will be put in place to set a transparent manner for adjusting salaries based on inflation, performance and exceptional skill.


“The decision to deny public servants salary adjustments and other concessions around working conditions over unreasonable stretches of years cannot be based on reason,” he said: “Somehow our Government system manages to portray and treat the workers and unions of this country as a thorn in the flesh.  The laws keep changing to muzzle and limit the rights of workers, particularly public servants.”


Gaolathe told the house that there is an economic fallacy doing the rounds that for a country to develop, it is necessary to ensure that labour costs are kept at a bare minimum. “The reality is that there is a compelling counter-arguments based on the efficiency wage theory, that labour that feels well appreciated, incentivized and trained will more than compensate based on higher productivity,” he said.


Gaolathe’s contention was that, Labour should be embraced as an important stakeholder in the development process without whom it is not possible to working environments that nurture economic transformation, “In the same way, Government is not always right, labour and the unions are not always right, but it is a symbiotic relationship with them that holds up strong economies,” he stated.


Gaolathe further said, “German workers are some of the most productive in the world and their involvement in business is pervasive in positive ways.  An important part of their mandate is to instil and ensure the lifelong training of workers and to guarantee worthwhile working conditions without hampering the success of business activity.”


To cater for salary increment, Gaolathe proposed amendments to the Development Budget, without changing the overall amount, as per the rules: “This means we need to cut what we believe are not pressing needs, including expenses on military aircraft,  and Directorate of Intelligence expenses,” he said.


The formation of Botswana Oil and Mineral Development Company has been viewed with suspicion by the former Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) think tank as suspicious.  He said he smells a rat because because government has always claimed that it is not its role to invest in enterprise. “It is not clear what the guidelines for managing these entities are and there are real fears that these could be funnels for financial leakage in favour of the political elite.  Guiding legislation is necessary to attend to these gaps,” he noted.


JOB CREATION


In the wake of the rising unemployment among the youth and graduates, Gaolathe has opined that the current ecosystem consisting of Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has failed to deliver the goods.  
“It is strange that the employment and industry targets of these major entities are not known,” he said. In view of the status quo, Gaolathe proposed for the establishment of a system of special sector “Funds” to make capital available and attract technical skills to the sectors that the nation has already identified as potential economic engines such as mineral beneficiation, agriculture/meat products and services. “These funds or holding companies would seek technical and other partners with whom to develop major export-oriented businesses,” he added.


He said these funds would be managed by competent managers including by the Botswana Development Corporation if they motivate their candidacy satisfactorily. “The funds will have financial targets, employment targets and other targets on the basis of which the country will monitor progress on the agreed development objectives,” he explained.


Gaolathe further indicated that Botswana needs to realize that there is an urgent need to take some drastic steps necessary to set up a few large farms, few large food processing plants, few mineral beneficiation factories, few meat processing plants and a few component parts manufacturing plants.  


“These large enterprises are necessary to create an ecosystem into which the small scale sector can thrive and in turn create mass opportunities for our people,” he said. “Botswana can excel in fish production, fish processing, beef processing, flower production, grain production, grain/food processing, services, technology, component part manufacturing, hunting and mineral beneficiation,” Ndaba pointed out.


With the right strategic partnerships and nurturing of a business friendly environment, Ndaba added, Botswana can generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in a space of five years, compared to about three thousand jobs created  per year in recent times, against a pool of more than fifteen thousand graduate entrants into the market.


INTRODUCTION OF HOME GROWN BANKS AND CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT


With Botswana’s financial sector, the banking sector in particular is still being dominated by foreign banks Gaolathe has hinted at need for Botswana to start a process of grooming homegrown banks and financial institutions through a variety of policy instruments.
“First, we must lessen the barriers to entry and allow for a second tier banking system to subsist with a first tier system.  This should overtime give indigenous banks the history, and credibility to elevate to the first tier,” he said.


Gaolathe has said the way pension fund management contracts are awarded to citizen-owned asset managers is a clear mechanism available to Botswana as he noted that Botswana is fortunate to have experienced citizen portfolio managers who have worked successfully at the most prestigious financial institutions in the world.


“Importantly, the size of the pension fund resources mainly of Government workers and parastatals is the same size as the entire banking sector,” he observed: “This is an opportunity to align the use of these funds to the country’s development objectives including the modernizing of infrastructure and strategic investments in the clusters that form Botswana’s economic strategy.  Almost 60 billion Pula of these resources are available for this strategic purpose.”

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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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