The National Development Bank (NDB) Chief Executive Officer Lorato Morapedi
The National Development Bank (NDB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lorato Morapedi is currently working without a contract following the expiration of her current deal at end of April. Morapedi’s contract ended with the bank yet to release the 2013/14 financial report, which is long overdue.
The report is expected to declare a declining performance by the development bank, and this will be a hard hit since it was established more than 50 years ago.
Highly placed sources at the bank indicate that the financial report is still kept under the rug as there is fear that it might put the CEO on the spot light – at a time when her performance needs to be gauged.
“Obviously the bank is not performing; the CEO took over when we were making profits of around P48 million but now we have been warned in previous meetings that we are anticipating a loss of P87 million as a bank,” an immaculate source told this publication this week.
Some of the employees at the bank have attributed the bank losses to financial mismanagement.
It is understood that already the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo has been notified through a letter dated Monday, 16th February 2015 of which a copy has been passed to the WeekendPost, that the bank needs to take a different strategic direction and it needs leadership renewal.
The National Development Bank Employees Union (NDBEU) warned in the letter, that: “in a highly competitive business of borrowing and lending, and given commercialization drive of NDB, the CEO lacks both the charisma and technical competence to rally her troops.”
The union, which represents a good part of the employees has observed that Morapedi’s leadership has been the sharp rise of resignation of many critical and high ranking officers who were high performers. This has not been helped by the fact that “the board has actively ensued that the few internal audit reports that are highly critical of the CEO’s leadership are swept under the carpet. They have resorted to acting as the CEO’s gatekeepers,” the union complained.
As the Minister, Matambo has the prerogative to decide to renew Morapedi’s contract or not. The minister may also solicit advice from key stakeholders like Bank of Botswana – which normally influences appointments of management in banks, including NDB. Under normal circumstances, NDB board recommends contracts and then the Minister approves.
WeekendPost is reliably informed that the contract of the CEO ended last month after serving in the position for close to five years.
However when contacted for comment, NDB Head of Branding, Marketing and Communications Harry Marks was tight lipped on the CEO contractual disclosure preferring not to divulge the information.
“It is in the best interest of the bank and its employees not to divulge any contractual agreement to third parties. It would be very unfair to the employee and against the bank’s policy for the bank to discuss employee’s contract with a third party as this is confidential,” he stated.
He emphasized that they are not aware of the allegations of the CEO parting ways with the bank. Instead, he said the CEO is steadfast in following up the transformation agenda towards Privatization and Commercializing the bank.
According to the letter penned by the union to Matambo, the lack of engagement by Morapedi and staff has resulted in staff giving contradicting and sometimes unconvincing information when engaged by customers. “It would not be long before these frustrated employees deliberately churn out negative information to the customers,” the letter stated.
The employees also said that from the beginning of this year (2015), the board was still reluctant to engage them on the matters they raised with them and resorted to advancing technical arguments intended to frustrate meaningful dialogue and conveniently did so. As consequence, the employees then resolved for a vote of no confidence on the CEO, bank management.
“As a consequence of this conduct by both the Board and Management Honourable Minister, the Union has in pursuant of its strategic and national interest in the operations of NDB, at its meeting of the 11th February 2015 resolved to pass a motion of no confidence against both the Board and Management.”
Following this resolution, the minister was informed that the CEO has resorted to rather unorthodox and desperate methods of engagement by intimidating and seeking to victimize union members. “We hope the breach is not influenced by an elaborate attempt by the CEO to ensure that all channels are blocked to operationalize the resolution of the Union,” they sated in the letter.
The basis of the motion of no confidence against the CEO is said to have been influenced mainly by the financial position of the bank – which is said to have been declining – and anticipated to be at its lowest in the financial report of 2014.
However, the NDB spokesperson Marks told this publication that the bank has not received any motion of no confidence on the CEO. Marks however confirmed to this publication that “financials for 2014 are yet to be approved and it has been mentioned that the bank is anticipating an operational loss.”
He pointed out that the loss is due to high impairments and provision thereof, an interest rate constrained environment, leading to reduced liquidity and that this scenario is not only peculiar to NDB.
“Overall, the banking sector has been experiencing a decline in profitability due to the aftershocks of the 2008 world economic meltdown and partly due to a combination of other factors,” he justified.
It is understood that the past financial year that ended on 30th April 2014 is in fact the worst in terms of financial reporting. It is reported that to date, the external auditors are yet to complete their audit of the bank’s financials. Furthermore, this publication understands that the deadline of the 30th June 2014 which had earlier been agreed to between NDB and the Bank of Botswana – has long lapsed.
Stakeholders also revealed that “a subsequent extension of time has also not been met. The statutory reporting deadline for NDB has always been the 30th September 2014, yet this too has not been met. Timelines aside, it is months into the next financial year, yet previous year end financials have not been finalized. This is preposterous by any stretch of imagination.”
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.