International Monetary Fund IMF said last March, Operation Taiex led to the arrest of the gang leader behind the Carbanak and Cobalt malware attacks on over 100 financial institutions worldwide.
This law enforcement operation included the Spanish national police, Europol, FBI, the Romanian, Moldovan, Belarusian, and Taiwanese authorities, as well as private cyber security companies. Investigators found out that hackers were operating in at least 15 countries. As the world knows that money moves quickly around the world, Operation Taiex shows cybercrime is doing the same, becoming increasingly able to collaborate rapidly across borders.
According to this organisation IMF, to create a cyber-secure world, people must be as fast and globally integrated as the criminals. Facing a global threat with local resources will not be enough. Countries need to do more internally and internationally to coordinate their efforts. To create a cyber-secure world, the world must be as fast and globally integrated as the criminals.How to best work together? IMF noted that, the private sector offers many good examples of cooperation.
The industry deserves credit for taking the lead in many areas, developing technical and risk management standards, convening information-sharing forums, and spending considerable resources. International bodies, including the Group of 7 Cyber Experts group and the Basel Committee, are creating awareness and identifying sound practices for financial sector supervisors. This is important work, IMF said.
But there is more to be done, especially if we take a global perspective. There are four areas where the international community can come together and boost the work being done at the national level. ‘’First, we need to develop a greater understanding of the risks: the source and nature of threats and how they might impact financial stability. We need more data on threats and on the impact of successful attacks to better understand the risks.
Second, we need to improve collaboration on threat intelligence, incident reporting and best practices in resilience and response. Information sharing between the private and public sector needs to be improved—for example, by reducing barriers to banks reporting issues to financial supervisors and law enforcement,’’ a report from IMF accentuated.
Different public agencies within a country need to communicate seamlessly. And most challenging, information sharing between countries must improve. Third, and related, regulatory approaches need to achieve greater consistency. Today, countries have different standards, regulations, and terminology. Reducing this inconsistency will facilitate more communication.
Finally, knowing that attacks will come, countries need to be ready for them. Crisis preparation and response protocols should be developed at both the national and cross-border level, so as to be able to respond and recover operations as soon as possible. Crisis exercises have become crucial in building resilience and the ability to respond, by revealing gaps and weaknesses in processes and decision making.
Because a cyber-attacks can come from anywhere in the world, or many places at once, crisis response protocols must be articulated within regions and globally. That means the relevant authorities need to know “whom to call” during a crisis, in nearby and, ideally, also in faraway countries. For small or developing countries, this is a challenge that needs international attention.
Many rely on financial services or correspondent lines provided by global banks for financial connection. Developing cross-border response protocols will help countries understand their respective roles in a crisis and ensure a coordinated response in the event of a crisis. The Group of 7 countries has made an excellent start at building collaboration on cyber security, but this effort needs to be broadened to each and every country.
Here the IMF can play an important role. With a much broader representation than most of the standard-setting institutions, the IMF has the ability to raise the concerns of emerging-market and developing countries to a global level. Because any place is a good place to start an attack, it is in the ultimate interest of advanced economies to work with other countries to share information, coordinate actions, and build capacity.
‘’At the IMF, we work with countries that need to build this capacity, developing the skills and expertise needed to recognize and effectively counter cyber security threats. Our international partners are doing the same, and we work regularly with an array of stakeholders in the public and private sector. Successful cyber-attacks have the potential to hamper financial development by creating distrust, especially if personal and financial data are compromised.
If we want to reap the benefits of new technologies that can develop markets and expand financial inclusion, we have to preserve trust, and ensure the security of information and communications technologies. With cyber security, there is always more to be done simply because the pace of change is breathtakingly fast.’’
Marcian Concepts have been contracted by Selibe Phikwe Economic Unit (SPEDU) in a P230 million project to raise the town from its ghost status. The project is in the design and building phase of building an industrial hub for Phikwe; putting together an infrastructure in Bolelanoto and Senwelo industrial sites.
This project comes as a life-raft for Selibe Phikwe, a town which was turned into a ghost town when the area’s economic mainstay, BCL mine, closed four years ago. In that catastrophe, 5000 people lost their livelihoods as the town’s life sunk into a gloomy horizon. Businesses were closed and some migrated to better places as industrial places and malls became almost empty.
However, SPEDU has now started plans to breathe life into the town. Information reaching this publication is that Marcian Concepts is now on the ground at Bolelanoto and Senwelo and works have commenced. Marcian as a contractor already promises to hire Phikwe locals only, even subcontract only companies from the area as a way to empower the place’s economy.
The procurement method for the tender is Open Domestic bidding which means Joint Ventures with foreign companies is not allowed. According to Marcian Concepts General Manager, Andre Strydom, in an interview with this publication, the project will come with 150 to 200 jobs. The project is expected to take 15 months at a tune of P230 531 402. 76. Marcian will put together construction of roadworks, storm-water drains, water reticulation, street lighting and telecommunication infrastructure. This tender was flouted last year August, but was awarded in June this year. This project is seen as the beginning of Phikwe’s revival and investors will be targeted to the area after the town has worn the ghost city status for almost half a decade.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed its outlook the world economy projecting a significantly deeper recession and slower recovery than it anticipated just two months ago.
On Wednesday when delivering its World Economic Outlook report titled “A long difficult Ascent” the Washington Based global lender said it now expects global gross domestic product to shrink 4.9% this year, more than the 3% predicted in April. For 2021, IMF experts have projected growth of 5.4%, down from 5.8%. “We are projecting a somewhat less severe though still deep recession in 2020, relative to our June forecast,” said Gita Gopinath Economic Counsellor and Director of Research.
The struggle of humanity is now how to dribble past the ‘Great Pandemic’ in order to salvage a lean economic score. Botswana is already working on dwindling fiscal accounts, budget deficit, threatened foreign reserves and the GDP data that is screaming recession.
Latest data by think tank and renowned rating agency, Moody’s Investor Service, is that Botswana’s fiscal status is on the red and it is mostly because of its mineral-dependency garment and tourism-related taxation. Botswana decided to close borders as one of the containment measures of Covid-19; trade and travellers have been locked out of the country. Moody’s also acknowledges that closing borders by countries like Botswana results in the collapse of tourism which will also indirectly weigh on revenue through lower import duties, VAT receipts and other taxes.
Latest economic data shows that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 with a decrease of 27 percent. One of the factors that led to contraction of the local economy is the suspension of air travel occasioned by COVID-19 containment measures impacted on the number of tourists entering through the country’s borders and hence affecting the output of the hotels and restaurants industry. This will also be weighed down by, according to Moody’s, emerging markets which will see government losing average revenue worth 2.1 percentage points (pps) of GDP in 2020, exceeding the 1.0 pps loss in advanced economies (AEs).
“Fiscal revenue in emerging markets is particularly vulnerable to this current crisis because of concentrated revenue structures and less sophisticated tax administrations than those in AEs. Oil exporters will see the largest falls but revenue volatility is a common feature of their credit profiles historically,” says Moody’s. The domino effects of containment measures could be seen cracking all sectors of the local economy as taxes from outside were locked out by the closure of borders hence dwindling tax revenue.
Moody’s has placed Botswana among oil importers, small, tourism-reliant economies which will see the largest fall in revenue. Botswana is in the top 10 of that pecking order where Moody’s pointed out recently that other resource-rich countries like Botswana (A2 negative) will also face a large drop in fiscal revenue.
This situation of countries’ revenue on the red is going to stay stubborn for a long run. Moody’s predicts that the spending pressures faced by governments across the globe are unlikely to ease in the short term, particularly because this crisis has emphasized the social role governments perform in areas like healthcare and labour markets.
For countries like Botswana, these spending pressures are generally exacerbated by a range of other factors like a higher interest burden, infrastructure deficiencies, weaker broader public sector, higher subsidies, lower incomes and more precarious employment. As a result, most of the burden for any fiscal consolidation is likely to fall on the revenue side, says Moody’s.
Moody’s then moves to the revenue spin of taxation. The rating agency looked at the likelihood and probability of sovereigns to raise up revenue by increasing tax to offset what was lost in mineral revenue and tourism-related tax revenue. Moody’s said the capacity to raise tax revenue distinguishes governments from other debt issuers. “In theory, governments can change a given tax system as they wish, subject to the relevant legislative process and within the constraints of international law. In practice, however, there are material constraints,” says Moody’s.
‘‘The coronavirus crisis will lead to long-lasting revenue losses for emerging market sovereigns because their ability to implement and enforce effective revenue-raising measures in response will be an important credit driver over the next few years because of their sizeable spending pressures and the subdued recovery in the global economy we expect next year.’’
According to Moody’s, together with a rise in stimulus and healthcare spending related to the crisis, the think tank expects this drop in revenue will trigger a sizeable fiscal deterioration across emerging market sovereigns. Most countries, including Botswana, are under pressure of widening their tax bases, Moody’s says that this will be challenging. “Even if governments reversed or do not extend tax-easing measures implemented in 2020 to support the economy through the coronavirus shock, which would be politically challenging, this would only provide a modest boost to revenue, especially as these measures were relatively modest in most emerging markets,” says Moody’s.
Botswana has been seen internationally as a ‘tax ease’ country and its taxes are seen as lower when compared to its regional counterparts. This country’s name has also been mentioned in various international investigative journalism tax evasion reports. In recent years there was a division of opinions over whether this country can stretch its tax base. But like other sovereigns who have tried but struggled to increase or even maintain their tax intake before the crisis, Botswana will face additional challenges, according to Moody’s.
“Additional measures to reduce tax evasion and cutting tax expenditure should support the recovery in government revenue, albeit from low levels,” advised Moody’s. Botswana’s tax revenue to the percentage of the GDP was 27 percent in 2008, dropped to 23 percent in 2010 to 23 percent before rising to 27 percent again in 2012. In years 2013 and 2014 the percentage went to 25 percent before it took a slip to decline in respective years of 2015 up to now where it is at 19.8 percent.