In a time when parastatals are bleeding jobs and drowning in debt, Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bashi Gaetsaloe is walking tall. With his company’s whooping 224 million pula plus balance Sheet, he is confident that he is doing something right.
On Tuesday, the BDC revealed over 100% growth in their profits for the financial year ended June 2016. Addressing stakeholders in Gaborone, the corporation’s top brass told attendants that they have doubled profits to over P200 million compared to P110 million recorded in 2015.
When breaking down the financial figures BDC Chief Finance Officer, Mbako Mbo noted that the company’s total revenue grew by 24% to P384 million from P310 million in 2015. The company revenues from operations closed the year at P262 million, a +35% growth from the year ended June 2015.
“Corporation assets grew by 9 % to P212 million net growths compared to P26 million reductions in total liabilities. An additional P239 million growth was recorded in shareholder funds, suggesting a 14% year-on-year increase,” he said.
According to information gathered by BusinesPost as per reports from the stakeholders’ briefing, BDC experienced a 6 % growth for their grouped value, recording a whooping P4.4 billion worth of company assets, with group level shareholders’ funds registering slight 3% growth to P3.2 billion.
“June 2016 marked the midpoint of our 5 year strategic plan and all our indicators point to a business that continues on a sustainable growth plan," the CFO highlighted.
Having ascended to the helm of the government investment arm just a short while ago, and taken the driving seat of a company swimming in a pool of debt and liquidating enterprises, Gaetsaloe revealed that the 5 year strategy they implemented about two years back is in good progress.
He noted that the BDC commissioned a major review of business dealing with their re-modeling strategy targeted at addressing challenges facing the business which included failing of mega billion pula investments like the Glass Project and liquidation of Talana farms which resulted in auctioning of assets consequently the company recording major losses.
“We have been facing challenges like any other business, the first phase of our current 5 year strategy was basically transforming our business and consolidating the kind of outcomes that have led to increased growth from our investment portfolio,” he said.
The optimistic MD further explained that the corporation now will focus on investing into new businesses to expand and affirm their portfolio with the aim of diversifying the country’s economy and growth.
“We have an extensive pipeline of earmarked investments existing which we are confident will contribute significantly to Botswana’s development agenda, whilst at the same time providing satisfactory financial returns to our main shareholder,” he said.
According to BDC, as the economy bleeds jobs everyday they pride themselves in creating 830 new jobs this year and keeping their over 4 700 net workforce base across its portfolio of companies .
BDC further revealed a total of P588 million injections has been approved for new projects, of which Gaetsaloe indicated they contributed to diversification of the economy, exports and expanded the private sector; boasting about paying a multi million pula dividend to its shareholder, the Government, something which they noted last happened in 2008.
On Monday President Khama pre announced this revelations indicating that BDC‘s recovery endeavor significantly bore fruits. “Madam Speaker I am pleased to report Botswana Development Corporation has recorded profits for 2 years up to June 2016,just over 400 million worth of new investment has been approved with an additional 800 million expected to be approved for both new and expanding businesses in the next coming few months.”
Botswana Development Corporation Limited was established in 1970, mandated to be the country's main agency for commercial and industrial development. The Government of Botswana owns 100 % of the issued share capital of the Corporation.
BDC offers loans, equity, and provision of commercial, industrial and residential premises. It supports projects that generate sustainable employment for Batswana and add to the skills of the local workforce. Encouraging citizen participation in business ventures.
Furthermore, BDC finance the development of viable businesses which supports the corporation investment priorities of energy, infrastructure, innovation and technology as well as agriculture and agro-procession. BDC also indulges in cross border financing of viable projects regionally and internationally to raise funds for local domestic investment and economic growth as well as expanding government revenue.
Lucrative and highly anticipated national lottery tender that saw several Batswana businessmen partnering to form a gambling consortium to pit against their South African counterparts, culminates into a big power gamble.
WeekendPost has had a chance to watch lottery showcase even before the anticipated and impending national lottery set-up launches. A lot has been a big gamble from the bidding process which is now set for the courts next year January following a marathon legal brawl involving the interest of the gambling fraternity in Botswana and South Africa.
Households representing more than half of Botswana’s population-mostly residing in rural areas- do not know where their next meal will come from, but neither do they take into consideration the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume.
This is according to the latest Prevalence of Food Insecurity in Botswana report which was done for the 2018/19 period and represents the state of food insecurity data even to this time. The Prevalence of Food Insecurity was released by Statistics Botswana and it released results with findings that the results show that at national level 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity in 2018/19, while 22.2 percent of the population was affected by severe food insecurity only.
According to the report, this translates to 27 percent of the population being food secure that is to say having adequate access to food in both quality and quantity. According to Statistician General, Burton Mguni, when explaining how the food data was compiled, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is custodian of the “Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU)” and “Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)” SDG indicators, for leading FIES data analysis and the resultant capacity building.
“The FIES measures the extent of food insecurity at the household or individual level. The indicator provides internationally comparable estimates of the proportion of the population facing moderate to severe difficulties in accessing food. The FIES consists of eight brief questions regarding access to adequate food, and the questions are answered directly with a yes/no response. It (FIES) complements the existing food and nutrition security indicators such as Prevalence of Undernourishment.
According to the FIES, with increasing severity, the quantity of food consumed decreases as portion sizes are reduced and meals are skipped. At its most severe level, people are forced to go without eating for a day or more. The scale further reveals that the household’s experience of food insecurity may be characterized by uncertainty and anxiety regarding food access and compromising the quality of the diet and having a less balanced and more monotonous diet,” says Mguni.
The 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana which was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity are characterized as people experiencing moderate food insecurity and face uncertainties about their ability to obtain food. These people have been forced to compromise on the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume according to the report on food insecurity.
Those who experience severe food insecurity, the 22.2 percent of the population, are people who have typically run out of food and, at worst, gone a day (or days) without eating. According to the statistics, rural area population experienced moderate to severe food insecurity at 65 percent while urban villages were at 46.60 percent and cities/town were at 31.70 percent. Those experiencing the most extreme and severe insecurity were at rural areas making 33.10 percent while urban villages and towns were at 11.90 percent and 17.50 respectively.
According to a paper compiled by Sirak Bahta, Francis Wanyoike, Hikuepi Katjiuongua and Davis Marumo and published in December 2017, titled ‘Characterization of food security and consumption patterns among smallholder livestock farmers in Botswana,’ over 70 percent of Botswana’s population reside in rural areas, and majority (70%) relies on traditional/subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods.
The study set out to characterize the food security situation and food consumption patterns among livestock keepers in Botswana. “Despite the policy change, challenges still remain in ensuring that all persons and households have access to food at all times. For example, during an analysis of the impacts of rising international food prices for Botswana, BIDPA reported that food prices tended to be highest in the rural areas already disadvantaged by relatively low levels of income and high rates of unemployment,” said the study.
According to the paper, about 9 percent of households were found to be food insecure and this category of households included 6 percent of households that ranked poorly and 3 percent that were on the borderline according to the World Food Programme’s (WFP) definition of food security.
Media reports state that the World Bank has warned that disruption to production and supply chains could ‘spark a food security crisis’ in Africa, forecasting a fall in farm production of up to 7 percent, if there are restrictions to trade, and a 25 percent decline in food imports.
Food security in Botswana or food production was also attacked by the locust pandemic which swept out this country’s vegetation and plants. The locust is said to have contributed to 25 percent loss in production.
Global lockdown have been a thorn in diamonds having shiny sales, but a lot of optimism shows with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the precious stones will be bought with high volumes towards festive season. The diamond market is however warned of the resurgence of Covid-19 in key markets presents ongoing risks amid the presence and optimist about the new Covid-29 vaccines.
The latest findings published as De Beers Group’s latest Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Report, which looks at the impact of the pandemic on relationships and engagements, has revealed that in the US that more couples than ever are buying diamond engagement rings. Bridal sales is mostly the primary source of diamond jewellery demand in recent months, De Beers said.
According to De Beers, interviews with independent jewellers around the US revealed that the rate of couples getting engaged has increased compared with the period when Covid-19 first had an impact in the US in the spring.
“In addition, despite challenging economic times, consumers were spending more than ever on diamond engagement rings – often upgrading in colour, cut and clarity, rather than size. Several jewellers speculated that with consumers spending less on elaborate weddings and/or honeymoons in the current environment, they had more to spend on choosing the perfect ring,” said De Beers.
According to De Beers, a national survey of 360 US women in serious relationships, undertaken in late October in collaboration with engagement and wedding website, The Knot. This survey is said to have found that the majority of respondents (54%) were thinking more about their engagement ring than the wedding itself (32%) or the honeymoon (15%), supporting jewellers’ hypothesis that engagement ring sales were benefiting from reduced wedding and travel budgets in light of Covid-19 restrictions.
When it came to researching engagement rings, online was by far the predominant channel for gaining ideas/inspiration at 86% of consumers surveyed, with 85% saying they had saved examples of styles they liked, according to De Beers. According to the survey, only a uarter of respondents said they had looked in-store at a physical location for design inspiration.
“For many couples, the pandemic has brought them even closer together, in some instances speeding up the path to engagement after forming a deeper connection while experiencing lockdown and its associated ups and downs as a partnership. Engagement rings are taking on even greater symbolism in this environment, with retailers reporting couples are prepared to invest more than usual, particularly due to budget reductions in other areas,” De Beers CEO Cleaver said.
According to De Beers Group, its Diamond Insight Flash Report series is focused on understanding the US consumer perspective in light of Covid-19 and monitoring how it evolves as the crisis evolves. Also, the company said, it is augmenting its existing research programme with additional consumer, retailer and supply chain touch-basis to understand the pain points and the opportunities for stakeholders across the diamond pipeline.
Demand for diamonds is as hard and resilient as the precious stone itself. De Beers pocketed US$ 450 million in its recently held ninth rough diamond sales cycle, and the company says it is more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the ninth sales cycle of 2020, with the Sight event extended beyond its normal week-long duration.
“Steady demand for De Beers Group’s rough diamonds continued in the ninth sales cycle of the year, reflecting stable consumer demand for diamond jewellery at the retail level in the US and China, and expectations for reasonable demand to continue throughout the holiday season. However, the resurgence of Covid-19 infections in several consumer markets presents ongoing risks,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver recently.
High expectations are on diamonds being a sentimental gift for holiday season or as the most fetished gift. However the ninth cycle was lower than the eighth which registered US$ 467 million. For the last year period which corresponds with the current one, De Beers managed to raise US$ 400.