BONA Life Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Regina Sikalesele-Vaka is confident that her company will have a significant impact in the insurance industry as it strives to blend its marketing of products with education for Batswana when it comes to insurance.
Sikalesele-Vaka knows that because of the challenging economic environment, which has led to high consumerism and indebtedness, many Batswana are unable to adequately save for their retirement. Therefore BONA Life has committed to focus on retirement products like pensions and retirement annuities. But they are also working on new products that promise tangible benefits in the immediate.
According to BONA Life Chief, there is need to educate Batswana more on the importance of financial planning and also how to actually do the planning. Sikalesele-Vaka said Batswana must be inducted on the benefits of long term planning, “our people should think about insurance when they are still young, because that is when it makes more sense,” she said. BONA Life has introduced a Pension Plan, which helps people plan for the future. “It does not matter whether you are in the pension fund or note. It is highly flexible, it allows you to put in a lump sum at your free will, it allows you to contribute what you can afford,” she said. “Everyone in retirement will invest in Bona Life annuity product, which will be designed to augment retirement benefits coupled with our attractive funeral scheme,” an upbeat Sikalesele – Vaka explained.
Further, Bona Life, has introduced the mortgage protector, to avoid situations where homes are lost to financiers in the event of ill-health or death. She explained that the mortgage protector helps clear one’s debt in the event of incapacitation that leads to lack of income, or in the event of death. Sikalesele-Vaka said the Mortgage Protector will actually pay back the money if the policy owner clears their mortgage. “Either way you get your money back,” she said.
The Monyadi or Wedding Planning another exciting product that Sikalesele-Vaka says will excite their clients and help in their planning for marriages. She said it allows people to start planning for weddings at a young age, “You can also plan for your children’s weddings through this product,” she said. BONA Life also has a funeral product that covers about 23 members of the family. Sikalesele-Vaka said this product is very competitive and encouraged Batswana to take it up because it can help them prepare for unfortunate situation of death in the family. “I am speaking of trusted and innovative financial services that will serve interests of our clients,” she said.
Formerly called Bramer Life Insurance, BONA Life’s new focus is meant to realign the company to its new shareholders, among them Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF).
Sikalesele-Vaka said they have developed flagship annuity retirement products for BPOPF and other pensioners from different employers. Sikalesele-Vaka is of the view that there is an urgent need for younger generations to start saving for their retirement as soon as possible, especially in response to the changing economic realities of high consumerism and indebtedness.
Sikalesele-Vaka said Bona Life is working closely with policy makers to ensure that employers are compelled by law to provide pensions for employees, as has been the case with the BPOPF and government employees. While this could help spur the business, the BONA Life CEO is also of the view that the law will come in handy for a lot of employees who do not have pensions.
According to Sikalesele-Vaka there is ample opportunity for BONA Life, as a citizen entrant to significantly reduce this dominance by providing relevant financial solutions that resonate with Batswana. She said the level of household debt in Botswana remains relatively high compared to global trends whilst the level of penetration of the life insurance industry remains relatively low.
Bona Life seeks to use the strength and structures of shareholders especially Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) to get more clients with a redirected focus.
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.