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Woolworths retains position as most reputable organisation

Woolworths is pleased to have retained its position as South Africa’s most reputable company in the annual Reputation Institute’s (RI) National RepTrak Pulse survey for 2015.

RepTrak, which ranks the largest listed companies by revenue and familiarity, tracks companies which are engaged in commercial activities, have a reasonable amount of familiarity with the general public, and are not wholly-owned subsidiaries of other companies.

Susie Squire, Group Head of Corporate Communications, Woolworths Holdings Limited, said: “We are honoured to be voted South Africa’s most reputable company for the second year running and this award is testament to the loyalty of our customers and the passion of our staff. Our Woolworths values such as integrity, sustainability and excellent service are at the heart of everything we do and we strive to be a leader in making a broader contribution to both the communities in which we operate and South Africa as a whole.

“Following our acquisition of David Jones, our collaboration with global icon for social cohesion Pharrell Williams and many other milestones, our focus is on maintaining and strengthening our relationships with all our stakeholders and making sure we continue to address their issues and answer their needs from a communication, service and product perspective.”

New Orange Money mobile application to improve customer experience

Mobile money application (app) for Orange Money users to provide free and quick access to Orange Money services on the go
Orange Money mobile app available for free on Google Play Store

Orange Botswana has announced the introduction of a mobile money application (app) for the Orange Money service. The new Orange Money mobile app (Orange Money app), is an innovative application that allows customers to easily access, manage and carry out Orange Money transactions straight from home screens of their smartphones.

The application is available on Android and can be downloaded for free on Google Play Store. Once the app is available on the home screen, it just takes a tap on the app for users to access Orange Money services.

The application is expected to enhance convenience and customer experience for Orange Money users.

“We are confident that the Orange Money app will enhance customer experience as it is a direct, easier and convenient way to experience Orange Money. Instead of the normal short code that customers dial to access Orange Money, they will now get this straight from their phones’ home screens. Customers will then practically perform any transaction they wish on their accounts without having to dial short codes,” says Boga Chilinde-Masebu, PR and Foundation Manager for Orange Botswana.

The Orange Money app is user-friendly, fun and enjoyable to use. It offers graphic icons or images illustrating the services offered on Orange Money, a much more interactive experience that users cannot achieve through the short code.

All current and future Orange Money services will be available inside this app. Customers will still be able to check their balances, transfer money from person to person (both Orange and non-Orange customers) within Botswana, pay bills, buy prepaid electricity, and top up airtime.

The new Orange Money application, the first of its kind in mobile money in Botswana, will be available for downloading from Wednesday 23rd September 2015. This new development reinforces Orange Botswana’s leadership position in innovation and mobile money services.

“At Orange we pride ourselves with innovation and being the first movers. The introduction of the Orange Money app only solidifies our place at the top of the innovation log. Currently we are the only mobile company that has this app, only banks have been known to have such apps,” says Chilinde-Masebu.

At the time of launch, the Orange Money app will only be available on Android but it will be made available for non-Android devices in the near future.

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Botswana on high red alert as AML joins Covid-19 to plague mankind

21st September 2020

This century is always looking at improving new super high speed technology to make life easier. On the other hand, beckoning as an emerging fierce reversal force to equally match or dominate this life enhancing super new tech, comes swift human adversaries which seem to have come to make living on earth even more difficult.

The recent discovery of a pandemic, Covid-19, which moves at a pace of unimaginable and unpredictable proportions; locking people inside homes and barring human interactions with its dreaded death threat, is currently being felt.

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Finance Committee cautions Gov’t against imprudent raising of debt levels

21st September 2020
Finance Committe Chairman: Thapelo Letsholo

Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo has cautioned Government against excessive borrowing and poorly managed debt levels.

He was speaking in  Parliament on Tuesday delivering  Parliament’s Finance Committee report after assessing a  motion that sought to raise Government Bond program ceiling to P30 billion, a big jump from the initial P15 Billion.

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Gov’t Investment Account drying up fast!  

21st September 2020
Dr Matsheka

Government Investment Account (GIA) which forms part of the Pula fund has been significantly drawn down to finance Botswana’s budget deficits since 2008/09 Global financial crises.

The 2009 global economic recession triggered the collapse of financial markets in the United States, sending waves of shock across world economies, eroding business sentiment, and causing financiers of trade to excise heightened caution and hold onto their cash.

The ripple effects of this economic catastrophe were mostly felt by low to middle income resource based economies, amplifying their vulnerability to external shocks. The diamond industry which forms the gist of Botswana’s economic make up collapsed to zero trade levels across the entire value chain.

The Upstream, where Botswana gathers much of its diamond revenue was adversely impacted by muted demand in the Midstream. The situation was exacerbated by zero appetite of polished goods by jewelry manufacturers and retail outlets due to lowered tail end consumer demand.

This resulted in sharp decline of Government revenue, ballooned budget deficits and suspension of some developmental projects. To finance the deficit and some prioritized national development projects, government had to dip into cash balances, foreign reserves and borrow both externally and locally.

Much of drawing was from Government Investment Account as opposed to drawing from foreign reserve component of the Pula Fund; the latter was spared as a fiscal buffer for the worst rainy days.

Consequently this resulted in significant decline in funds held in the Government Investment Account (GIA). The account serves as Government’s main savings depository and fund for national policy objectives.

However as the world emerged from the 2009 recession government revenue graph picked up to pre recession levels before going down again around 2016/17 owing to challenges in the diamond industry.

Due to a number of budget surpluses from 2012/13 financial year the Government Investment Account started expanding back to P30 billion levels before a series of budget deficits in the National Development Plan 11 pushed it back to decline a decline wave.

When the National Development Plan 11 commenced three (3) financial years ago, government announced that the first half of the NDP would run at budget deficits.

This  as explained by Minister of Finance in 2017 would be occasioned by decline in diamond revenue mainly due to government forfeiting some of its dividend from Debswana to fund mine expansion projects.

Cumulatively since 2017/18 to 2019/20 financial year the budget deficit totaled to over P16 billion, of which was financed by both external and domestic borrowing and drawing down from government cash balances. Drawing down from government cash balances meant significant withdrawals from the Government Investment Account.

The Government Investment Account (GIA) was established in accordance with Section 35 of the Bank of Botswana Act Cap. 55:01. The Account represents Government’s share of the Botswana‘s foreign exchange reserves, its investment and management strategies are aligned to the Bank of Botswana’s foreign exchange reserves management and investment guidelines.

Government Investment Account, comprises of Pula denominated deposits at the Bank of Botswana and held in the Pula Fund, which is the long-term investment tranche of the foreign exchange reserves.

In June 2017 while answering a question from Bogolo Kenewendo, the then Minister of Finance & Economic Development Kenneth Mathambo told parliament that as of June 30, 2017, the total assets in the Pula Fund was P56.818 billion, of which the balance in the GIA was P30.832 billion.

Kenewendo was still a back bench specially elected Member of Parliament before ascending to cabinet post in 2018. Last week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, when presenting a motion to raise government local borrowing ceiling from P15 billion to P30 Billion told parliament that as of December 2019 Government Investment Account amounted to P18.3 billion.

Dr Matsheka further told parliament that prior to financial crisis of 2008/9 the account amounted to P30.5 billion (41 % of GDP) in December of 2008 while as at December 2019 it stood at P18.3 billion (only 9 % of GDP) mirroring a total decline by P11 billion in the entire 11 years.

Back in 2017 Parliament was also told that the Government Investment Account may be drawn-down or added to, in line with actuations in the Government’s expenditure and revenue outturns. “This is intended to provide the Government with appropriate funds to execute its functions and responsibilities effectively and efficiently” said Mathambo, then Minister of Finance.

Acknowledging the need to draw down from GIA no more, current Minister of Finance   Dr Matsheka said “It is under this background that it would be advisable to avoid excessive draw down from this account to preserve it as a financial buffer”

He further cautioned “The danger with substantially reduced financial buffers is that when an economic shock occurs or a disaster descends upon us and adversely affects our economy it becomes very difficult for the country to manage such a shock”

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