The Managing Director at Botswana Development Corporation, Bashi Gaetsaloe
The Managing Director at Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), Bashi Gaetsaloe, seems to have brought some magic to the embattled giant finance house.
The Corporation is seemingly reversing its loss making trajectory, having plunged into the red questionable investments such as the abortive P500 million loss making Fengyue glass project in Palapye.
On Friday this week Gaetsaloe told news agencies that the Corporation will double its business in five years and that its turnaround strategies are bearing fruit.
“The new BDC is here,” declared Gaetsaloe emphatically. He said that the ultimate goal of BDC is to create transformational changes to society and answer crucial development questions such as food security, sustainable energies and job creation.
Gaetsaloe said that BDC will be going outside of Botswana’s borders to create wealth for Batswana and explore niches that commercial banks would not venture into.
“We have been too insular, too inward looking for too long, this is an opportunity to expand our client base and build our international capability and also diversify our risk profile,” he said.
He said that Botswana needs to expand its export potential and go into previously unexplored ventures such as manufacturing of automobiles and saying the Corporation is geared towards this after strengthening its business development capability to become more ‘viable and relevant.’
“There are industries we have not even touched,” he said.
“We want a wealthier, better positioned Batswana and we want to put business into their hands.”
Gaetsaloe said that implementation of the programme begun in April 2014 with the objectives of reducing wastage, preserving cash, preserving the integrity of the balance sheet, and creating a platform for sustainable and viable growth.
Priority areas for improvement included: financial restructuring, review of Legal and Governance frameworks, organisational structure review, process redesign, and the introduction of best practise risk management policies and frameworks.
This steady financial improvement is a positive development and demonstrates that the Re-Modelling Programme that begun towards the end of the year displayed early signs of success. Business Remodelling The commencement of BDC's Business Re-Modelling Programme began in October 2013. This unprecedented exercise looked at ways to nurture a new corporate culture and introduce new ways of working, partnering, and executing.
In the current financial year, BDC will bed-down many of the changes that will be necessary for the Corporation to achieve long term success. The Corporation is confident that through this re-modelling programme BDC will not only rebuild trust with its stakeholders, but will also emerge as the leading investment company in Botswana and the region. Strategy BDC’s Strategic Plan centres on a single, unifying Strategic Goal of “doubling the business in 5 years”.
Going forward BDC will focus on commercially viable projects that: Pioneer new industries; Unlock value in existing industries; Stimulate private sector growth and linkages; Drive diversification and exports; Create significant employment and generate wealth from outside the country.
FINANCIAL REVIEW In the year under review the Group's financial performance showed steady gains. The Group realised a Profit Before Tax of P35.7million representing a 166 percent increase over the prior year. The Group’s statement of financial position also grew by a healthy 15 percent to P3.6 billion from P3.2 billion while the net assets of the company were P2.5 billion, a 12 percent increase on the previous year. Revenue for the BDC Company grew from P101.7 million to P150.4 million representing a 48 percent increase from the previous year.
The Group’s revenue, however, declined by 10 percent from P317.9 million in the previous year to P286.8 million in the current year. The slow-down in revenue at the group level reflects the challenges and changes that the organisation is managing within its subsidiary and associate company structures.
At a company level, BDC experienced a loss before tax of P67.1 million against a loss before tax of P222.2 million in the previous year. This loss at a company level is substantially less than the loss in the previous year and is reflective of key initiatives to manage operating costs and improve collections.
Indeed, despite incurring expenses of the remodelling exercise, total expenses for the Corporation were reduced by 25 percent which is reflective of key initiatives to manage operating costs. Whilst the net loss for the group was P7.8 million, a total comprehensive income of P215 million was achieved compared to P107 million in the previous year after taking into account the net gains on investments and revaluation of property, plant and equipment.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.
In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.
While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.
Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.
Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.