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DIS threw P4 billion worth FDI out of Botswana

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has heard that the Directorate of Intelligence Security Services (DISS)’s meddling could have cost the country P4 billion worth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

The revelations surfaced this week when PAC Member, Tati East member of Parliament, Guma Moyo said the organisation was said to be directly involved in rejecting work permits and VISAs for foreign nationals who wanted to set-up various businesses in Botswana.

DIS became the centre of debate at the PAC sitting this week when the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs appeared before the committee to account for the for use of public money for the financial year ending 31st March 2015.

It is the second time a finger is being pointed at the notorious security institution. Last week, the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism blamed the DISS for the declining numbers of tourists’ visits to Botswana in recent years.  

PAC member, Guma Moyo who is also Member of Parliament for Tati East expressed concern at the unprecedented number of foreign nationals who are denied opportunity to set up businesses in Botswana without clear reasons. Moyo told the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs accounting officer that the ministry is failing the nation due to misguided immigration practices such as rejection of working permits under the guise of security threats.

Moyo revealed that he has received complaints from various stakeholders among them, Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC) and Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HAATAB) over unexplained rejection of foreign entrepreneurs and tourist VISAs and work permits. 

Moyo told PAC that, reports indicate that an estimated P4 billion was lost by the country on FDI in the past year alone, and said the practice could hurt the country’s economy and reverse its gains going forward.

The Tati East MP said Botswana is quickly earning a bad name for its self as its image as a friendly and welcoming nation has started to fade away. Moyo also highlighted that countries like India, and China, who are one of the biggest investors in Botswana’s economy have been rejected in recent years, compelling them to look elsewhere.

Ndaba Gaolathe stated that there is no way a country could have promising prospects in the economy when it does not get its immigration policy right. The Gaborone Bonnington South MP noted that countries like United States, New Zealand and Australia are home to nationals from various countries and they have excelled economically.

Gaolathe said what is happening currently threatens the future of Botswana’s economy. Gaolathe had wanted to establish from the accounting officer whether the Office of the President and DIS interferes or has undue influence on the matters relating to issuing of VISAs and work permits.

Although the PS Pearl Matome could not directly answer the question, she conceded that as the accounting officer for the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs she was not aware of the reasons why some foreign nationals were placed on VISA restriction contrary to the agreement between their countries and Botswana.

Countries like South Africa, United States, and United Kingdom have a diplomatic agreement with Botswana that their nationals do not require VISAs to visit Botswana. Notwithstanding that, the department of Immigration has placed some citizens from these countries on VISA restrictions and those nationals have on several occasions been denied visiting Botswana. The PAC members have pointed out that this has created tensions between the countries implicated and therefore detrimental to the country’s foreign policy.

Evidence presented before the PAC is to the effect that DIS has been involved in all processes regarding vetting of foreign nationals who want to visit Botswana. However, Matome further revealed that of all foreigners who had been required to for VISAs before, none were in the end granted the VISAs after applying. Among those on the list of VISAs include foreign journalist, political activist and other nationals who have had views divergent from those of government.

“There is chaos at immigration regarding work permits and VISAs,” said Moyo. “It is creating a negative impact and countries like India are beginning to think Botswana is a no go area for business.”

Guma who is a former Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning said there is a serious problem to an extent that even two year-old kids are being denied VISAs. PAC also heard this week that Botswana only awards 200 foreign nationals citizenship every year. Moyo said the threshold is ridiculous and needs to be reviewed, since the accounting officer could not state with certainty whether the practice was policy or not.

But the DISS Director General, Isaac Kgosi has defended his organisation against the accusations. He clearly stated that officials who blame his organisation are told telling the truth, pointing out that they are not involved in the process of work permits applications.

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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