Botswana’s inflation has been steadily increasing in the past three months following Statistics Botswana’s decision to change the way it calculates the country’s consumer price index (CPI).
In September last year, the data collecting agency rebased the year from September 2006 to September 2016. The rebasing was done to make the basket relevant to current consumption patterns. The CPI rebasing covered a number of issues which includes the new basket and weights, area coverage as well as the methodology. The current index has September 2016 as its base and the weights were derived from the 2009/10 Botswana Core Welfare Indicator Survey (BCWIS) results.
The new basket has a total of 393 items which are categorized into 51 sections and 12 groups while the previous basket had 384 items but still classified as stated. The number of basket items has been increased and modified to cater for the changes in the consumption patterns as per 2009/10 BCWIS results.
Statistics Botswana recorded annual inflation rate of 2.9% in November, up by 0.2% from October. The following month the inflation rate increased by 1% to level with the lowest rung in the 3-6% objective set by the bank. In the latest release from Statistics Botswana, annual inflation rate in January was 3.1 percent, an increase of 0.1 of a percentage point on the December rate of 3.0 percent.
The report shows that the increase was largely driven by the group indices which recorded changes of at least 1 percent between December and January. The increases were led by Education (4 percent), Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages (1 percent) and Alcoholic Beverages, Tobacco & Narcotics (1 percent).
The Education Group index recorded the most increase at 4 percent from the past month. The constituent section indices of Pre-primary & Primary Education and Secondary & Tertiary Education recorded increases of 5 and 3.7 percent respectively. The rise was mainly attributed to increases in the private secondary and pre-primary & primary education school fees.
The Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages index group advanced by 1 percent between December 2016 and January 2017. The rise was attributed to the general increase in the section indices, notably; Fruit (2.9 percent), Vegetables (2.7 percent), Meat (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen) (1.7 percent) and Coffee, Tea & Cocoa (0.9 percent).
The Alcoholic Beverages, Tobacco & Narcotics index group moved by 1 percent between December and January. The rise was attributed to the increase in the section index of Alcoholic Beverages (1.2 percent). Other notable increases were observed in Clothing and Footwear (0.5 percent), Health (0.5 percent) and Restaurant and Hotels (0.8 percent). The increases in all group indices were slightly offset by a 0.5 percent decrease in the Transport group.
All-Tradable inflation rate was 2.6 percent in January 2017, an increase of 0.1 of a percentage point on the December 2016 rate of 2.5 percent. The Domestic Tradable inflation rate rose from 3.6 percent in December 2016 to 4.3 percent in January 2017. The Non-Tradable inflation rate remained unchanged at 4.3 percent while Imported Tradable inflation rate declined from 1.8 percent to 1.7 percent between the two months.
Core inflation, which excludes the prices of food, non-alcoholic beverages, petrol and energy, increased to 3.9 percent year-on-year in January from 3.7 percent. Botswana’s headline inflation is one of the lowest in the region and it is within the Bank of Botswana’s medium term objective range of 3-6%. The low inflation rate has been attributed to subdued domestic demand pressures as the country grapples with rising unemployment due to weak job growth prospects, retrenchments, and stagnated wages that have reduced consumers spending power.
The central bank in its last Monetary Policy Committee meeting decided to maintain the bank rate at 5.5 percent after it concluded that the outlook for price stability remains positive. The central bank has been maintaining an accommodative monetary policy marked by reduction in the bank rate which was prevalent in 2015.
There were two bank rate cuts in 2015, with the first cut in February that reduced the rate from 7.5 to 6.5 followed by a 50 basis point cut in August. In 2016, the bank slashed the bank rate by another 50 basis point, from 6% to 5.5% in August. Thereafter it has been maintaining the same rate as inflation rates continue to be below the bank’s medium term range.
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
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As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
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Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.