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Southern Region makes strides on Vision 2016

As part of her office’s approach of broad-based consultation, Vision 2016 Coordinator Dr. Charity Kruger engaged the leadership of the districts in the Southern Region this past week in Jwaneng, to validate the report emanating from the Evaluation Conference held in November 2014.

The November 2014 Conference evaluated progress of districts made on vision pillars and concerns identified by the Botswana Performance Report 2009. The Conference facilitated fruitful discussions from the participants who were representatives of the Tribal Administration and District Commissioners Offices in the four districts being Southern, Kweneng, South East and Kgatleng. Also present were District Commissioners of Lobatse and Jwaneng.


National rankings of the economic development of districts place the South East district as the best performing in the region coming in 6th place, followed by Kgatleng District ranked 10th place. The rankings have consolidated some key economic and social indicators which include median household expenditure (P/month), Headcount poverty rate, and Unemployment rate, Access to electricity and Access to piped water.


Regarding income poverty levels between 2003 and 2010, the Southern District has excelled most by reducing its income poverty levels by 48% of what they were in 2003, to 19.8% in 2010, says Vision 2016 Coordinator Dr. Charity Kruger. On a national level, this achievement was second only to the Kgalagadi district which achieved a percentage change of 60 in reducing its income poverty levels over the same period.

The other districts in the region  made commendable inroads in reducing income poverty levels over the same period, despite their poverty  levels still being higher than the national poverty rate of 19.3% in 2010, with the exception of South East district which had income poverty levels of 8.9%.


There was an overarching call from the District Commissioners for the nation to enhance the systems and efforts of cataloguing and conserving our diverse cultures, traditions and historical sites. As well as the need for Botswana to patent and market our cultural knowledge of biodiversity that has for generations been known for medicinal properties. Concern was also expressed of disproportionate attention and resources being concentrated on only a handful of historical sites and monuments which have high national profile, at the exclusion of a plethora of others scattered across the districts.


The District Commissioner of Kgatleng Ms. Wame Samapipi cited one of her region’s achievements as the ‘Re a nyalana’ Association which was created to address challenges of co-habitation and has received wide support in her district. She also added that there is a mixed response regarding living Vision 2016 in her district, with villages in the western part of the district more knowledgeable about the vision than their counterparts on the East.

“The western villages have gone as far as forming Vision Clusters run by villagers, not officers. The Clusters’ membership includes Chiefs. This is unlike villages in the east of the district who have not yet associated themselves in such a manner”, she said.


The Annual Air Show in her district continues to be a crowd puller and attracts a number of small and medium sized enterprises. She also emphasised its impact in inspiring and broadening the youth’s mindsets when it comes to career choices. Ms. Samapipi lamented that Kgatleng’s main challenges include the district’s close proximity to Gaborone, leading to sustained high unemployment in the district as people live there but prefer to seek work in the Capital City. This close proximity has also driven up the real estate prices in the district, in line the trend in Gaborone. Illegal crossing of resident living along the South African border, into South Africa through ungazetted border points is another significant challenge.


The Southern District has room for improvement with regard to the HIV/AIDS prevalence rates, with rates for Kgatleng and Kweneng East Districts higher than the national rate of 18.5% in 2013, at 19.9% and 21.5% respectively.


The District Commissioner for Lobatse, Mr. Godfrey Gare elaborated on the unique history and positioning of Lobatse, both in geographical location and uniqueness as well as economic potential. He stated that the economic development currently taking place in Lobatse such as the leather processing and MilkAfric projects are attracting more local migration to the town, which has been welcome but has also brought more social challenges to the town.   


The Dikgosi called for better working relationships between the Tribal Administration Offices and the District Commissioner’s Offices. They lamented the lack of capacitation that was afforded the Tribal Administrators, in comparison to that afforded to the District Commissioner’s offices.


In conclusion, Kgosi Kebonetshwene Mosielele of Manyana called upon the nation to have more dialogue about societal developments that affect the moral tone of the nation.

Boa Chombah is Director of Advocacy & Communications, Vision 2016 Secretariat

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Mowana Mine to open, pay employees millions

18th January 2022
Mowana Mine

Mowana Copper Mine in Dukwi will finally pay its former employees a total amount of P23, 789, 984.00 end of this month. For over three years Mowana Copper Mine has been under judicial management. Updating members, Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) Executive Secretary Kitso Phiri this week said the High Court issued an order for the implementation of the compromise scheme of December 9, 2021 and this was to be done within 30 days after court order.

“Therefore payment of benefits under the scheme including those owed to Messina Copper Botswana employees should be effected sometime in January latest end of January 2022,” Kitso said. Kitso also explained that cash settlement will be 30 percent of the total Messina Copper Botswana estate and negotiated estate is $3,233,000 (about P35, 563,000).

Messina Copper was placed under liquidation and was thereafter acquired by Leboam Holdings to operate Mowana Mine. Leboam Holdings struck a deal with the Messina Copper’s liquidator who became a shareholder of Leboam Holdings. Leboam Holdings could not service its debts and its creditors placed it under provisional judicial management on December 18, 2018 and in judicial management on February 28, 2019.

A new company Max Power expressed interest to acquire the mining operations. It offered to take over the Mowana Mine from Leboam Holdings, however, the company had to pay the debts of Leboam including monies owed to Messina Copper, being employees benefits and other debts owed to other creditors.

The monies, were agreed to be paid through a scheme of compromise proposed by Max Power, being a negotiated payment schedule, which was subject to the financial ability of the new owners. “On December 9, 2021, Messina Copper liquidator, called a meeting of creditors, which the BMWU on behalf of its members (former Messina Copper employees) attended, to seek mandate from creditors to proceed with a proposed settlement for Messina Copper on the scheme of compromise. It is important to note that employee benefits are regarded as preferential credit, meaning once a scheme is approved they are paid first.”

Negotiated estate is P35, 563,000

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Councilors’ benefits debacle-savingram reveals detail

18th January 2022

A savingram the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development sent to Town Clerks and Council Secretaries explaining why councilors across the country should not have access to their terminal benefits before end of their term has been revealed.

The contents of the savingram came out in the wake of a war of words between counselors and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The councilors through the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) accuse the Ministry of refusing to allow them to have access to their terminal benefits before end of their term.

This has since been denied by the Ministry.  In the savingram to town councils and council secretaries across the country, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Molefi Keaja states that, “Kindly be advised that the terminal benefits budget is made during the final year of term of office for Honorable Councilors.”  Keaja reminded town clerks and council secretaries that, “The nominal budget Councils make each and every financial year is to cater for events where a Councilor’s term of office ends before the statutory time due to death, resignation or any other reason.”

The savingram also goes into detail about why the government had in the past allowed councilors to have access to their terminal benefits before the end of their term.  “Regarding the special dispensation made in the 2014-2019, it should be noted that the advance was granted because at that time there was an approved budget for terminal benefits during the financial year,” explained Keaja.  He added that, “Town Clerks/Council Secretaries made discretions depending on the liquidity position of Councils which attracted a lot of audit queries.”

Keaja also revealed that councils across the country were struggling financially and therefore if they were to grant councilors access to their terminal benefits, this could leave their in a dire financial situation.  Given the fact that Local Authorities currently have cash flow problems and budgetary constraints, it is not advisable to grant terminal benefits advance as it would only serve to compound the liquidity problems of councils.

It is understood that the Ministry was inundated with calls from some Councils as they sought clarification regarding access to their terminal benefits. The Ministry fears that should councils pay out the terminal benefits this would affect their coffers as the government spends a lot on councilors salaries.

Reports show that apart from elected councilors, the government spends at least P6, 577, 746, 00 on nominated councilors across the country as their monthly salaries. Former Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso once told Parliament that in total there are 113 nominated councilors and their salaries per a year add up to P78, 933,16.00. She added that their projected gratuity is P9, 866,646.00.

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Households spending to drive economic recovery

17th January 2022

A surge in consumer spending is expected to be a key driver of Botswana’s economic recovery, according to recent projections by Fitch Solutions. Fitch Solutions said it forecasts household spending in Botswana to grow by a real rate of 5.9% in 2022.

The bullish Fitch Solutions noted that “This is a considerable deceleration from 9.4% growth estimated in 2021, it comes mainly from the base effects of the contraction of 2.5% recorded in 2020,” adding that, “We project total household spending (in real terms) to reach BWP59.9bn (USD8.8bn) in 2022, increasing from BWP56.5bn (USD8.3bn) in 2021.”  According to Fitch Solutions, this is higher than the pre-Covid-19 total household spending (in real terms) of P53.0 billion (USD7.8bn) in 2019 and it indicates a full recovery in consumer spending.

“We forecast real household spending to grow by 5.9% in 2022, decelerating from the estimated growth of 9.4% in 2021. We note that the Covid-19 pandemic and the related restrictions on economic activity resulted in real household spending contracting by 2.5% in 2020, creating a lower base for spending to grow from in 2021 and 2022,” Fitch Solutions says.

Total household spending (in real terms), the agency says, will increase in 2022 when compared to 2021. In 2021 and 2022, total household spending (in real terms) will be above the pre-Covid-19 levels in 2019, indicating a full recovery in consumer spending, says Fitch Solutions.  It says as of December 6 2021 (latest data available), 38.4% of people in Botswana have received at least one vaccine dose, while this is relatively low it is higher than Africa average of 11.3%.

“The emergence of new Covid-19 variants such as Omicron, which was first detected in the country in November 2021, poses a downside risk to our outlook for consumer spending, particularly as a large proportion of the country’s population is unvaccinated and this could result in stricter measures being implemented once again,” says Fitch Solutions.

Growth will ease in 2022, Fitch Solution says. “Our forecast for an improvement in consumer spending in Botswana in 2022 is in line with our Country Risk team’s forecast that the economy will grow by a real rate of 5.3% over 2022, from an estimated 12.5% growth in 2021 as the low base effects from 2020 dissipate,” it says.

Fitch Solutions notes that “Our Country Risk team expects private consumption to be the main driver of Botswana’s economic growth in 2022, as disposable incomes and the labour market continue to recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
It says Botswana’s tourism sector has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the related travel restrictions.

According to Fitch Solutions, “The emergence of the Omicron variant, which was first detected in November 2021, has resulted in travel bans being implemented on Southern African countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Eswatini. This will further delay the recovery of Botswana’s tourism sector in 2021 and early 2022.”  Fitch Solutions, therefore, forecasts Botswana’s tourist arrivals to grow by 81.2% in 2022, from an estimated contraction of 40.3% in 2021.

It notes that the 72.4% contraction in 2020 has created a low base for tourist arrivals to grow from.  “The rollout of vaccines in South Africa and its key source markets will aid the recovery of the tourism sector over the coming months and this bodes well for the employment and incomes of people employed in the hospitality industry, particularly restaurants and hotels as well as recreation and culture businesses,” the report says.

Fitch Solutions further notes that with economies reopening, consumers are demanding products that they had little access to over the previous year. However, manufacturers are facing several problems.  It says supply chain issues and bottlenecks are resulting in consumer goods shortages, feeding through into supply-side inflation.  Fitch Solutions believes the global semiconductor shortage will continue into 2022, putting the pressure on the supply of several consumer goods.

It says the spread of the Delta variant is upending factory production in Asia, disrupting shipping and posing more shocks to the world economy. Similarly, manufacturers are facing shortages of key components and higher raw materials costs, the report says adding that while this is somewhat restricted to consumer goods, there is a high risk that this feeds through into more consumer services over the 2022 year.

“Our global view for a notable recovery in consumer spending relies on the ability of authorities to vaccinate a large enough proportion of their populations and thereby experience a notable drop in Covid-19 infections and a decline in hospitalisation rates,” says Fitch Solutions.
Both these factors, it says, will lead to governments gradually lifting restrictions, which will boost consumer confidence and retail sales.

“As of December 6 2021, 38.4% of people in Botswana have received at least one vaccine dose. While this is low, it is higher than the Africa average of 11.3%. The vaccines being administered in Botswana include Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson. We believe that a successful vaccine rollout will aid the country’s consumer spending recovery,” says Fitch Solutions.  Therefore, the agency says, “Our forecasts account for risks that are highly likely to play out in 2022, including the easing of government support. However, if other risks start to play out, this may lead to forecast revisions.”

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