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Cabinet snubs Parliament

Following the decision by the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies to deny the Botswana Development Corporation’s (BDC) access to secure P1.075 billion in government guarantees for investments in several local entities, President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama appears prepared to accede to the request, at least on account of his 2016 State of the Nation Address.

 

The Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies chaired by Samson Moyo Guma had told the BDC managing director, Bashi Gaetsaloe and board chairperson, Blackie Marole, that they were being “dishonest” and “economic with the truth” at the time when they were making presentations before the committee.

 

The BDC is seeking government guarantees for an P850 million loan already approved by the African Development Bank and another P150 million, which it plans to raise through a local bond. The BDC wants the guarantees to fund several investments it says are in its “immediate” pipeline and which it says will create 1,300 jobs.

 

Gaetsaloe told the committee that BDC needs P1 billion of which it would use up only 70% and leave seven percent as a buffer when there is need to pump money into a project in need. However, after his presentation of the projects the total amount needed was P1.075 billion.

 

The committee members expressed disappointment that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning treated the request as urgent and had approved without having researched it.In his State of the Nation Address, President Khama acknowledged the ‘BDC recovery’ and said he was pleased to report that the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has recorded profits for the two years up to June 2016.

 

Since mid-2015, just over P400 million worth of new investments have been approved, with an additional P800 million expected to be approved for funding both new and expanding businesses during next few months.

 

THE ENVISAGED PROJECTS

 

In the BDC request, Milk Africa was to get P45 million. Milk Africa is currently engulfed in feuds with creditors because of debt. It was expected to be a fully integrated dairy factory with rearing milk cows, processing milk and selling to the local market. The committee had approved this request.

 

Ba Isago is to benefit P200 million from the BDC request. The P200 million will be spent on the expansion of Ba Isago University, as a way to try and solve the puzzle of skills mismatch and offering better education. Guma at the time argued that it does not make sense for government to invest in a private institution while its own public institutions are not performing well.

 

Another beneficiary is Letshego expected to pocket P250 million. The BDC is of the view that Letshego’s regional expansion could benefit from the P250 million. A Private Estate in Francistown P270 million to service the land and construct roads. The project is expected to have residential, a school and a clinic amongst other developments.

 

The Committee had also approved a second project – Paper production company to the tune of P30 million. BDC also wants to spend P280 million in expanding an automotive plant. 

 

PARLIAMENT NEEDED TO RUBBERSTAMP DONE DEAL 

 

Asked to comment on President Khama statement on BDC and the possibility that the P800 million could have long been released before the guarantees were secured from Government, Samson Guma Moyo said it is on record that the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies had rejected the BDC proposal and had asked that it be reviewed.

 

He said they had sat down with officials from the Ministry of Finance and they were both in agreement that the proposal needed further work before it could be approved by Parliament. He said it will be unfortunate if the loan was disbursed before guarantees were approved by Parliament.

The BDC maintains that the projects will add jobs and value to the economy while the committee is steadfast that the corporation needs to be more creative.

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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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