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Fish’s award should prop up local entrepreneurs

The Managing Director of Leapfrog, Pabalinga

The Managing Director of Leapfrog, Pabalinga says his nomination for the International Arch of Europe (IAE) Award by the prestigious Organisation; the Business Initiative Directors (BID) should urge other Batswana entrepreneurs to explore markets outside Botswana, “because the markets out there are bigger than in Botswana.”

BID has been giving business awards to different business people throughout the world since 1970, previous winners include, founders of Shannaz Herbals, Sheraton Hotels, Wal Mart, Reliance Foundries and Tata Group among others.

Leapfrog was selected to receive the International Arch of Europe (IAE) Award in Frankfurt, Germany yesterday (Friday). This award has been presented in the past to companies that have shown true commitment to excellence and quality in their fields.

The award was presented after research and analysis carried out through Quality Hunters, leaders, entrepreneurs and experts in quality directed by the Business Initiative Directions (BID) in recognition of Leapfrog’s contribution in terms of Leadership, Quality and Excellence.

“It is a really proud moment for myself and my company especially as a start-up company from Botswana. For Leapfrog to be recognised so far out for quality and leadership is most humbling. It is not often that one is awarded for excellence and for a small company like Leapfrog to be recognised amongst giants in business, is special,” said Pabalinga.

According to Pabalinga, Batswana have always been good business people especially those that have explored outside markets.

“I would like to see more of us venture outside because the markets out there are bigger than in Botswana. The world is for the taking because as a country we have focused well on education and this makes us globally competitive. We just don’t venture out enough maybe for fear of what we can achieve when we do, even Botswana bred organisations must join the lead and do more within the SADC region,” said the Leapfrog MD.

The final decision to present the IAE Award in the Gold category to Leap Frog in Frankfurt was made by the IAE Selection Committee on the basis of the criteria of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model.

According to Pabalinga, entrepreneurship is filled with lots of ups and downs, and the award therefore has humbled him.

“It’s always comforting to see that after being in business for so long one can get recognition especially for Leadership and Excellence. Leadership is a measure that’s based on management of people and we are a people centric company and it shows we have been good to the community we work with and around,” Pabalinga shared.

The MD further said he hopes that the award will inspire other young Batswana to go all out and not try taking short cuts in life, “Sometimes achievements don’t always mean having billions in your bank account but at times its about having the knowledge that one can pass  on to other generations. As a business we will keep trying to get better and in the process hope to keep pushing our industry up.”

Though gratified by the award, Pabalinga concedes that he too has stopped to wonder what “being excellent” meant. He however articulated that he believes that when one strives for perfection, they become good at what they do. He said his team at Leapfrog have been motivated to do better than before, through the award.

Pabalinga strongly believes that he is in business for a good cause hence over the years he has made time to help others and  employ Greenfields where to give them the necessary experience that would assist them in the future life.

“All the projects we get involved in are very people centric. We involve a lot of University students who get practical knowledge about how to be involved in successful events and PR management of such. We therefore would like to use this award as a way of encouraging more organisations to make time and space for the Greenfields so they also can get the necessary education and experience to stand a chance of making it in life as well,” he said.

The International IAE Convention took place in Frankfurt from April 24th to 26th, 2015, with the award presentation held at the spectacular Theatre Convention Hall.

The award, given to leaders by leaders, is sponsored by 26 Imarpress media publications ( all oriented towards organizations focused on innovation, quality and excellence.

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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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