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‘New’ BDC swims out of the red

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.

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.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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