The Bank of Gaborone Managing Director, Andre Barnard
From the beginning of time, saving has been synonymous with the human lifestyle. It is inbuilt within traditions and cultural practices. Our forefathers built silos for storing harvest after a successful ploughing season. Bulk grain would be ‘saved’ for gloomy days.
As time evolved, so did the methods of saving. Fast forward to the 21st century, farmers still harvest, and package and store their produce in more technically advanced methods like fortifying and freezing them. The same principle can be applied in saving money.
For global markets the conversation is not just about saving anymore, but also about markets and investments. A publication on Global Imbalance: A saving and Investment Perspective, suggests that, the world economy is experiencing changes in both saving and investment behaviour that are having implications for the configuration of current account imbalances and the level of real interest rates.
Their consumers then ask, ‘to save or invest’ and ‘is investment a better idea’. Consumers are looking into different ways of saving and what markets can offer.
An October 2012 World Bank report highlighted that 16 percent people in Botswana had made a saving in the past 12 months. The same low numbers were captured on the Bank of Botswana Financial Statistics report where household savings made only 22 percent of the P 53 billion of the banks’ deposits. This greatly puts a spotlight on the culture of saving in Botswana.
The product offering by Bank Gaborone are efforts to say, saving can start at any age or stage, at however much income and is not limited to the working class. Saving is even easy with Bank Gaborone; the Wiz Kid account tailored for children offers a debit card, free withdrawals, free gift and competitive rates.
Ipeele and Sure Save cater for Batswana from all walks of life; with an opening balance of P120, no maintenance fees and FREE funeral cover on Ipeele, saving couldn’t be easier. The products are a solution tailored for the different challenges and financial status of the customers.
The Bank of Gaborone Managing Director, Andre Barnard reiterated that, “Savings do not only benefit the individual but are also necessary for the growth and development of an economy. There is evidence of household debt being higher than household deposits. Bank Gaborone believe that financial prudence, temperance and self-control are keys to financial freedom. If all those are exercised, a steady increase in saving will make a remarkable contribution to the economy”.
Saving money does not come as naturally to all of us. There are those people who genuinely understand the benefits of putting money aside, forfeiting some of life’s luxuries and some who plainly believe in spending all of their income and wait on manna during dark days.
It is this mind-set that needs to be eradicated through financial literacy. We lose out on the benefits of saving in our day to day lives without even noticing it. There are many benefits of saving that can however be enjoyed without so much renege on the saving plan. The simple tripod model below can help anyone start their saving journey.
Have a reason-to be able to put money aside does not come easy to all of us. Therefore, the savings process becomes easy when it is tied to a goal. The goal then serves as better motivation to keep at the task. This could be a short term goal like saving to buy a pair of shoes to long term goals like travelling, paying for tuition. Much as the net income determines how much one can save, at the end of it all, it must not be about the money but about the bigger picture.
Competitive rates- in Albert Einstein’s words, “compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it earns it, he who doesn’t, pays it”. It goes without mention that we entrust financial institutions with our monies so we get benefits of interests. Therefore a thorough research and understanding of the market is necessary when choosing where to save ones money.
Financial discipline- a weigh of what matters on the spending scale will go a long way. This requires the ability to delay gratification. Unfortunately the society has conditioned the “get money, spend money” mentality from a very young age.
Lack of financial discipline starts when you give a P2.00 coin to you child, spending on candy is the first that comes to their mind. At least five things that they badly want should spring to mind, like the precious doll on the window display, the Go-Cart ride, that colourful colouring book.
Fast forward to adulthood, there should be tiers of expenses in order of importance and urgency. It is important to be able to say NO I cannot afford it or NO not now. Financial discipline plays a great role in the ability to save. If one leans more on the spender side of the graph, that inevitably slopes revenue to save.
Precautionary saving should be a lifestyle practiced by everyone. It does not have to be determined by the level of income. Savings should be a fall back plan or a cushion on a rainy day. Bank Gaborone can help you start, it is never too late, they also offer the best rates.
Developing markets are miles ahead. Effects made into individual and household saving do not only empower those who practice it, but unlock happiness and financial freedom. The reward of saving and accomplishing the set goals goes beyond it goes as far as reducing household debt as a whole.
Marcian Concepts have been contracted by Selibe Phikwe Economic Unit (SPEDU) in a P230 million project to raise the town from its ghost status. The project is in the design and building phase of building an industrial hub for Phikwe; putting together an infrastructure in Bolelanoto and Senwelo industrial sites.
This project comes as a life-raft for Selibe Phikwe, a town which was turned into a ghost town when the area’s economic mainstay, BCL mine, closed four years ago. In that catastrophe, 5000 people lost their livelihoods as the town’s life sunk into a gloomy horizon. Businesses were closed and some migrated to better places as industrial places and malls became almost empty.
However, SPEDU has now started plans to breathe life into the town. Information reaching this publication is that Marcian Concepts is now on the ground at Bolelanoto and Senwelo and works have commenced. Marcian as a contractor already promises to hire Phikwe locals only, even subcontract only companies from the area as a way to empower the place’s economy.
The procurement method for the tender is Open Domestic bidding which means Joint Ventures with foreign companies is not allowed. According to Marcian Concepts General Manager, Andre Strydom, in an interview with this publication, the project will come with 150 to 200 jobs. The project is expected to take 15 months at a tune of P230 531 402. 76. Marcian will put together construction of roadworks, storm-water drains, water reticulation, street lighting and telecommunication infrastructure. This tender was flouted last year August, but was awarded in June this year. This project is seen as the beginning of Phikwe’s revival and investors will be targeted to the area after the town has worn the ghost city status for almost half a decade.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed its outlook the world economy projecting a significantly deeper recession and slower recovery than it anticipated just two months ago.
On Wednesday when delivering its World Economic Outlook report titled “A long difficult Ascent” the Washington Based global lender said it now expects global gross domestic product to shrink 4.9% this year, more than the 3% predicted in April. For 2021, IMF experts have projected growth of 5.4%, down from 5.8%. “We are projecting a somewhat less severe though still deep recession in 2020, relative to our June forecast,” said Gita Gopinath Economic Counsellor and Director of Research.
The struggle of humanity is now how to dribble past the ‘Great Pandemic’ in order to salvage a lean economic score. Botswana is already working on dwindling fiscal accounts, budget deficit, threatened foreign reserves and the GDP data that is screaming recession.
Latest data by think tank and renowned rating agency, Moody’s Investor Service, is that Botswana’s fiscal status is on the red and it is mostly because of its mineral-dependency garment and tourism-related taxation. Botswana decided to close borders as one of the containment measures of Covid-19; trade and travellers have been locked out of the country. Moody’s also acknowledges that closing borders by countries like Botswana results in the collapse of tourism which will also indirectly weigh on revenue through lower import duties, VAT receipts and other taxes.
Latest economic data shows that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 with a decrease of 27 percent. One of the factors that led to contraction of the local economy is the suspension of air travel occasioned by COVID-19 containment measures impacted on the number of tourists entering through the country’s borders and hence affecting the output of the hotels and restaurants industry. This will also be weighed down by, according to Moody’s, emerging markets which will see government losing average revenue worth 2.1 percentage points (pps) of GDP in 2020, exceeding the 1.0 pps loss in advanced economies (AEs).
“Fiscal revenue in emerging markets is particularly vulnerable to this current crisis because of concentrated revenue structures and less sophisticated tax administrations than those in AEs. Oil exporters will see the largest falls but revenue volatility is a common feature of their credit profiles historically,” says Moody’s. The domino effects of containment measures could be seen cracking all sectors of the local economy as taxes from outside were locked out by the closure of borders hence dwindling tax revenue.
Moody’s has placed Botswana among oil importers, small, tourism-reliant economies which will see the largest fall in revenue. Botswana is in the top 10 of that pecking order where Moody’s pointed out recently that other resource-rich countries like Botswana (A2 negative) will also face a large drop in fiscal revenue.
This situation of countries’ revenue on the red is going to stay stubborn for a long run. Moody’s predicts that the spending pressures faced by governments across the globe are unlikely to ease in the short term, particularly because this crisis has emphasized the social role governments perform in areas like healthcare and labour markets.
For countries like Botswana, these spending pressures are generally exacerbated by a range of other factors like a higher interest burden, infrastructure deficiencies, weaker broader public sector, higher subsidies, lower incomes and more precarious employment. As a result, most of the burden for any fiscal consolidation is likely to fall on the revenue side, says Moody’s.
Moody’s then moves to the revenue spin of taxation. The rating agency looked at the likelihood and probability of sovereigns to raise up revenue by increasing tax to offset what was lost in mineral revenue and tourism-related tax revenue. Moody’s said the capacity to raise tax revenue distinguishes governments from other debt issuers. “In theory, governments can change a given tax system as they wish, subject to the relevant legislative process and within the constraints of international law. In practice, however, there are material constraints,” says Moody’s.
‘‘The coronavirus crisis will lead to long-lasting revenue losses for emerging market sovereigns because their ability to implement and enforce effective revenue-raising measures in response will be an important credit driver over the next few years because of their sizeable spending pressures and the subdued recovery in the global economy we expect next year.’’
According to Moody’s, together with a rise in stimulus and healthcare spending related to the crisis, the think tank expects this drop in revenue will trigger a sizeable fiscal deterioration across emerging market sovereigns. Most countries, including Botswana, are under pressure of widening their tax bases, Moody’s says that this will be challenging. “Even if governments reversed or do not extend tax-easing measures implemented in 2020 to support the economy through the coronavirus shock, which would be politically challenging, this would only provide a modest boost to revenue, especially as these measures were relatively modest in most emerging markets,” says Moody’s.
Botswana has been seen internationally as a ‘tax ease’ country and its taxes are seen as lower when compared to its regional counterparts. This country’s name has also been mentioned in various international investigative journalism tax evasion reports. In recent years there was a division of opinions over whether this country can stretch its tax base. But like other sovereigns who have tried but struggled to increase or even maintain their tax intake before the crisis, Botswana will face additional challenges, according to Moody’s.
“Additional measures to reduce tax evasion and cutting tax expenditure should support the recovery in government revenue, albeit from low levels,” advised Moody’s. Botswana’s tax revenue to the percentage of the GDP was 27 percent in 2008, dropped to 23 percent in 2010 to 23 percent before rising to 27 percent again in 2012. In years 2013 and 2014 the percentage went to 25 percent before it took a slip to decline in respective years of 2015 up to now where it is at 19.8 percent.