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Water shortages hit BMC operations

Beef Measles incidence likely to increase  

Botswana Meat Commission is feeling the pressure of the water shortage situation. This was revealed by BMC spokesperson Brian Dioka, responding to an enquiry by BusinessPost.

The water shortage crisis was further exacerbated a shutdown of North South Carrier (NSC I) were interrupted from Friday last week, to September, for repairs, when a leak was discovered along the pipeline in the Bonwapitse area. The water which is pumped from the north of the country, feeds the greater Gaborone area, which goes all the way to Goodhope. Water supply recovery will start from the 7th of September 2015 and may take up to two weeks for some areas.

In an emailed response to this publication, Dioka said that: “BMC like any other business is affected by the prevailing shortage of water, given that it is one of the main users, in Lobatse, of piped-water sourced from WUC. BMC uses about 4 cubic metres of water per animal -4000 litres per animal – that adds to about 2 million litres per day, but the rationing has halved total supply of water to the Lobatse abattoir, reducing even the number of animals which can be slaughtered.”

“The Commission, in Lobatse slaughters about 600 to 650 cattle a day, and the entire production line requires clean/safe water through-out. In instances where there is no water/electricity/plant malfunction – the entire operations are shut-down to avoid exposing our product or even being downgraded by the competent authority, and this potentially equals opportunity losses of over a P 1 million daily on production (given that it disrupts the slaughter schedule, causing delays and increased expenditure of cattle feed – for those awaiting slaughter).”

“The other direct effect of water shortage is that it will potentially increase the prevalence of beef-measles (which currently seat at an alarming 13-15 percent nationally). With water being scarce, the veldt could easily get exposed to human-waste, our fear is to realise an even worse measles prevalence rate at the end of it all. National measles rate is 10 percent (which is still high compared to all neighbouring countries whose rates are less than 5 percent) the irony is that we are a chief-supplier to lucrative markets, which could one day be irked by the Botswana measles rate and even stop importing Botswana beef.” In 2013, BMC losses of up to P73 million caused by measles infested cattle.

“BMC for 2015 intends to slaughter over 188 000 cattle to reach desired sales. As at end of August 2015, we had achieved slightly above 100 000 cattle, and are now forced to re-double our efforts in the remaining 4 months to achieve the intended figure – since we slaughter about 13000 in a month-provided there is sustained supply of clean, safe water and other critical utilities. This will obviously mean that workers will have to be engaged on overtime, and this has a cost bearing on BMC Lobatse plant which employs about 950 employees who work on a 5 day roster,” he stated.

However, Dioka said that the water situation does not put BMC in danger of losing its licenses to supply the high end European beef buyer market.

“The prevailing calamity (negated by reduced supply of water) however, does not pose any threats on supply/market licenses such as the EU or any other; the challenge it poses rather, is whether BMC would be able to supply the required orders to its customers on time; But we have since been proactive by signalling to our customers that their orders might be supplied late.”

Dioka said that the Commission has taken a decision to reduce dependence on WUC supply by constructing a water treatment plant to clean water siphoned off boreholes that the Commission owns.

“BMC leadership has swiftly moved to tap on its own resources, as a matter of priority. BMC Lobatse Plant currently has two boreholes with a combined yield of 50 cubic kilolitres per an hour of untreated ground-water. The commission has since approved the construction of a quality treatment plant, which will make the referred potable for usage. This will ease-off dependence of WUC, and also cut our water expenditure by over half a million pula on monthly charges/costs.

Envisaged construction of the treatment plant will cost BMC P3 million and take just about 8 weeks to complete, given that some parts have to be customized for the project.”

Dioka said that BMC however notes great relations with WUC (Water Utilities Corporation) which has been in existence over past decades, noting that “even at this stressing period of water shortage, the two stakeholders continuously apprise each other on the prevailing circumstances and mulling-over corrective plans and measures as a way forward.”

“BMC also applauds government for its continued efforts to restore normal water supply, and this should be a call to everybody for better usage of this resource.”

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Business

Unleashing potential: Connectivity as a catalyst for economic and societal growth in Botswana

23rd April 2024

Imagine a young entrepreneur in the city of Gaborone with dreams of starting her own business. With access to high-speed internet, she can connect with suppliers, market her products online, and reach customers around the world, all from the comfort of her home.

Just a few years ago, this internet access was a luxury reserved for the privileged few. Today, however, thanks to the ambitious National Broadband Strategy launched in 2019, the digital landscape of Botswana is undergoing a dramatic transformation, reflecting the government’s commitment to providing stable and secure internet connectivity to businesses, citizens, and organisations.

A proactive approach to ensuring uninterrupted connectivity

The importance of reliable connectivity can’t be overstated. For instance, on 14 March 2024, four major undersea telecommunications cables, West Africa Cable System (WACS), Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), MainOne, and SAT–3, experienced simultaneous outages, with significant internet disruptions across the continent.

In this instance, Liquid Intelligent Technologies’ (Liquid) proactive investment in multiple undersea cables along both the east and west coasts of Africa showed the benefits of a robust and diversified network. Our redundant international backbone ensured traffic was rerouted, maintaining an uninterrupted service and keeping customers connected. This commitment to uninterrupted connectivity is mirrored in our initiatives such as the Gaborone Metro Ring.

Driving growth and promoting investment

The Gaborone Metro Ring is a telecommunications network powered by Liquid Botswana, which has turned the bustling capital city into a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. Start-ups and established businesses alike are harnessing the power of high-speed internet to drive growth, create jobs, and open doors to investment.

Connectivity lies at the heart of Botswana’s digital transformation, creating economic growth and community development. The Gaborone Metro Ring, which spans key business hubs and high-density areas, provides internet access and empowers individuals and hundreds of businesses in the city, driving innovation, and fostering inclusivity. Covering Gaborone and Lobatse, it is providing the internet connectivity necessary to positively transform and grow the Botswana economy.

Fuelling entrepreneurship and job creation

One of the key benefits of enhanced connectivity is its ability to support advanced data, video, messaging, and voice services, paving the way for increased efficiency and productivity. Businesses, particularly start-ups and SMEs, can leverage high-speed internet to streamline operations, reach new markets, and drive growth. Moreover, reduced tariffs and exclusive offers within the metro fibre zone enable businesses to innovate and compete globally, fuelling entrepreneurship and job creation.

Empowering individuals and strengthening communities

In a country with 1.95 million internet users, representing an internet penetration rate of 73.5% of the total population, the benefits of connectivity extend far beyond Lobatse and Gaborone, reaching communities across the country. Improved access to information and services empowers individuals, strengthens communities, and drives social development. Moreover, connectivity plays a crucial role in bridging the digital divide, ensuring that no one is left behind in Botswana’s journey towards a digitally inclusive society.

As Botswana continues to embrace digital transformation, the role of connectivity will only become more critical. It is not just about connecting people, but about empowering them to realise their full potential, driving economic growth, and building a more inclusive society.

Internet is the backbone of a knowledge-based economy. From empowering entrepreneurs and startups and fuelling the digital economy, to improving education and healthcare, reliable and resilient connectivity is key. In addition, in the event of an emergency such as the recent multiple undersea cable failure, a diverse and stable option that ensures business continuity is essential. The Liquid-powered Gaborone Metro Ring, adding to the company’s 110,000km of fibre across the continent, is fuelling the transformative power of connectivity in Botswana.

 

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Business

LLR transforms from Company to Group reporting

9th April 2024

Botswana Stock Exchange listed diversified real estate company, Letlole La Rona Limited (“LLR” or “the Company” or “the Group”), posted its first set of group financial statements which comprise the Company and Group consolidated accounts, which show strong financial performance for the six months ended 31 December 2023, with improvements across all key metrics.

The Company commenced the financial year with the appointment of a Deputy Chairperson, Mr Mooketsi Maphane, in order to bolster its governance and enhance leadership continuity through the development of a Board and Executive Management Succession Plan.

At operational level, LLR increased its shareholding in Railpark Mall from 32.79% to 57.79% and proudly took over the management of this prime asset.

The CEO of LLR, Ms Kamogelo Mowaneng commented “During the period under review, our portfolio continued to perform strongly, with improvements across all key metrics as a result of our ongoing focus on portfolio growth and optimisation.

“We are pleased to report a successful first half of the 2024 financial year, where we managed to not only grow the portfolio through strategic acquisitions and value accretive refurbishments but also recycled capital through the disposal of Moedi House as well as the ongoing sale of section titles at Red Square Apartments. The acquisition of an additional 25% stake in JTTM Properties significantly uplifted the value of our investment portfolio to P2.0 billion at a Group level. Our investment portfolio was further differentiated by the quality of our tenant base, as demonstrated by above market occupancy levels of 99.15% and strong collections of above 100% for the period”.

The growth in contractual revenue of 9% from the prior year’s P48.0 million to the current year P52.2 million, increased income from Railpark Mall, coupled with high collection rates, has enabled the company to declare a distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit, which is in line with the prior year.

 

In line with its strategic pillars of ‘Streamlined and Expanded Botswana Portfolio’ as well as ‘Quality African Assets’, the Group continuously monitors the performance of its investments to ensure that they meet the targeted returns.

“The Group continues to explore yield accretive opportunities for balance sheet growth and funding options that can be deployed to finance that growth” further commented the CEO of LLR Ms Kamogelo Mowaneng.

Ms Mowaneng further thanked the Group’s stakeholders for their continued support and stated that they look forward to unlocking further value in the Group.

 

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Business

Botswana’s Electricity Generation Dips 26.4%

9th April 2024

The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has reported a significant decrease in electricity generation for the fourth quarter of 2023, with output plummeting by 26.4%. This decline is primarily attributed to operational difficulties at the Morupule B power plant, as per the latest Botswana Index of Electricity Generation (IEG) released recently.

Local electricity production saw a drastic reduction, falling from 889,535 MWH in the third quarter of 2023 to 654,312 MWH in the period under review. This substantial decrease is largely due to the operational challenges at the Morupule B power plant. Consequently, the need for imported electricity surged by 35.6% (136,243 MWH) from 382,426 MWH in the third quarter to 518,669 MWH in the fourth quarter. This increase was necessitated by the need to compensate for the shortfall in locally generated electricity.

Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO) was the principal supplier of imported electricity, accounting for 43.1% of total electricity imports during the fourth quarter of 2023. Eskom followed with 21.8%, while the remaining 12.1, 10.3, 8.6, and 4.2% were sourced from Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM), Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), Nampower, and Cross-border electricity markets, respectively. Cross-border electricity markets involve the supply of electricity to towns and villages along the border from neighboring countries such as Namibia and Zambia.

Distributed electricity exhibited a decrease of 7.8% (98,980 MWH), dropping from 1,271,961 MWH in the third quarter of 2023 to 1,172,981 MWH in the review quarter.

Electricity generated locally contributed 55.8% to the electricity distributed during the fourth quarter of 2023, a decrease from the 74.5% contribution in the same quarter of the previous year. This signifies a decrease of 18.7 percentage points. The quarter-on-quarter comparison shows that the contribution of locally generated electricity to the distributed electricity fell by 14.2 percentage points, from 69.9% in the third quarter of 2023 to 55.8% in the fourth quarter. The Morupule A and B power stations accounted for 90.4% of the electricity generated during the fourth quarter of 2023, while Matshelagabedi and Orapa emergency power plants contributed the remaining 5.9 and 3.7% respectively.

The year-on-year analysis reveals some improvement in local electricity generation. The year-on-year perspective shows that the amount of distributed electricity increased by 8.2% (88,781 MWH), from 1,084,200 MWH in the fourth quarter of 2022 to 1,172,981 MWH in the current quarter. The trend of the Index of Electricity Generation from the first quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2023 indicates an improvement in local electricity generation, despite fluctuations.

The year-on-year analysis also reveals a downward trend in the physical volume of imported electricity. The trend in the physical volume of imported electricity from the first quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2023 shows a downward trend, indicating the country’s continued effort to generate adequate electricity to meet domestic demand, has led to the decreased reliance on electricity imports.

In response to the need to increase local generation and reduce power imports, the government has initiated a new National Energy Policy. This policy is aimed at guiding the management and development of Botswana’s energy sector and encouraging investment in new and renewable energy. In the policy document, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Lefoko Moagi stated that the policy aims to transform Botswana from being a net energy importer to a self-sufficient nation with surplus energy for export into the region. Moagi expressed confidence that Botswana has the potential to achieve self-sufficiency in electric power supply, given the country’s readily available energy resources such as coal and renewable sources.

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