The shares of Botswana based BancABC will cease to exist on the Botswana Stock Exchange at the end of January. The Pan-African banking group has completed the delisting process of Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and the shares will cease to trade on the bourse at the end of this month.
The Group moved a step closer to its endeavour of delisting both the BSE and Zimbabwe Stock Exchanges, where it has a secondary listing, following an acquisition of the remaining 4.2 percent shareholding in the ABC Holdings (ABCH) group by Barclays Plc’s former chief executive officer, Bob Diamond’s Atlas Mara. Diamond and Ashish Thakkar, a Ugandan businessman – who founded Atlas Mara – are buying banking properties across the continent, which they say offers massive investment opportunities.
The arrival of Robert Diamond’s Atlas Mara set heads rolling at Banc ABC parent company, ABC Holdings and in December 2014, with a management shake-up at the very top of the group.
ABC Holdings has 100 percent stake in Banc ABC in Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and a 94 percent stake in Tanzania.
The Group also seeks to delist from Zimbabwe bourse, former Chief executive Doug Munatsi late last year that the group’s structural changes remained in full compliance with Zimbabwe’s indigenisation laws. He further indicated that the Zimbabwean government endorsed a share swap deal transaction in which Atlas Mara would sell between 30 and 40 percent shareholding to indigenous investors, while some Zimbabweans that owned shares in BancABC would swap them for shares in Atlas Mara.
Zimbabwe’s 2008 Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, which seeks to bequeath majority ownership and control of the country’s resources to the black majority, requires all foreign-owned firms operating in the country to cede 51 percent shareholding to indigenous/black Zimbabweans.
The Board of ABC Holdings, this week, announced the delisting and removal shares from trading on the BSE, with effect from the 30 January 2015. “The effect of the delisting with effect from the 30 January 2015 The Shares will cease to be listed on the official list of the BSE. As of the 26 January 2015, ABC Holdings Limited Shareholders will no longer be able to trade their shares on the BSE. The final settlement date is the 29 January 2015,” said a statement released by the Group.
The BSE approved the application for the shares to be removed from the official list, and to the BSE for the Shares to be removed from trading. The last day of dealings in the Shares on the BSE is 26 January 2015 with the final settlement date set for 29 January 2015. The cancellation of the listing and trading in the shares on the BSE is expected to take effect at or about 08:00 on 30 January 2015.
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.
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.
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”