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Botswana becomes Japan’s second-hand car scrap heap

Statistics Botswana, a parastatal organisation charged with responsibilities of collecting and disseminating all official figures in the country, has presented Transport and Infrastructure Statistics Brief for Quarter 3, 2019.

The Brief covers statistics relating to air transport, motor vehicle registrations, railway transport and water transport. The motor vehicle registration deals with licensing of motor vehicles with respect to those registered for the first time and the renewal of pre-existing ones. First registrations are done at the Department of Road Transport and Safety DRTS only, while renewals are done at DRTS offices, Post Offices country wide and some stores like Sefalana.

According to these statistics, a total of 18 000 vehicles were registered for the first time during the quarter under review, Q3 2019. Out of this total 77.1 percent were passenger cars. Vans made up 7.4 percent of the total while motor cycles constituted only 0.3 percent of the total first registrations. First registrations increased by 4.9 percent compared to the previous quarter, Q2 2019. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, Q3 2018, vehicles registered for the first time increased by 27.7 percent.

For the past five years first registrations have been increasing at a decreasing rate; in 2015 they increased by 11.2. Most of the first registrations in Q3 2019 were used vehicles, constituting 84.9 percent of total first registrations. In this brief, it was shared that most of the first registrations in Q3 2019 were used vehicles, constituting 84.9 percent of total first registrations. Brand new and rebuilt vehicles accounted for 15.0 percent and 0.1 percent of the total respectively.

Furthermore, the brief indicated that the highest number of first registered vehicles were imported from Japan which made up 77.7 percent of the total first registrations. Out of these, 99.6 percent were used vehicles and only 0.4 percent were new. The neighbouring South Africa followed Japan with 15.0 percent of total imported vehicles, out of which 82.8 percent were new. Singapore was the third in line of countries from which Botswana imports vehicles, it accounted for 1.7 percent of total first registrations.

Most of the new vehicles were imported from South Africa which accounted for 82.5 percent of total brand new vehicles. Vehicles bought in Botswana followed with 7.4 percent. Brand new vehicles from Pakistan and Japan accounted for 2.8 and 2.0 percent respectively.
Rebuilt vehicles originated from only three countries namely; Botswana (41.7 percent), Japan (50.0 percent) and South Africa (8.3 percent).

In Q3 2019, Gaborone accounted for a high number of first registrations with 64.8 percent of the total first registrations, the brief noted. This was an increase of 2.3 percent compared to vehicles registered for the first time in Q2 2019. The country’s second city, Francistown followed with 9.3 percent of total vehicles registered for the first time. The ailing town of Lobatse recorded 6.7 percent, while Molepolole 5.2 percent. Bobonong and Mogoditshane had the least number of first registrations with just one vehicle each.

There were no first registrations recorded at Charleshill, Hukuntsi, Middlepits, Moshupa and Rakops. In the period under review, Toyota proved to be the most popular motor vehicle make, registering 38.3 percent of total first registrations. Honda recorded the second highest number of first registrations with 12 .3 percent. Volkswagen recorded 10.9 percent while Mazda and Nissan registered 8.4 and 6.2 percent respectively.

Yamaha was the favourite motorcycle as it accounted for 70.2 percent of the total motorcycles recorded this quarter. The report stressed that all the homemade vehicles were trailers. As for registration by month, most of the registrations were done in the month of July which accounted for 34.8 percent of total first registrations. The months of August and September constituted 34.0 and 31.2 percent respectively. Compared to the same months of the previous year, Q3 2018, July increased by 41.1 percent, while August and September registrations increased by 20.2 and 23.1 percent respectively.

Compared to the same months of the previous year, renewals increased for the months of July and August by 19.1 percent and 4.6 percent respectively and declined for the month of September by 1.4 percent. Statistics Botswana further indicated that Motor Vehicle Renewals by Quarter & Body Type A total of 137,348 vehicles had their licenses renewed during this quarter.This was an increase of 6.5 percent compared to the 128,972 vehicles renewed in Q2 2019. The most renewed body type of vehicle was the passenger car accounting for 64.2 percent of total renewals.

Vans accounted for 19.1 percent of total renewals recorded under this quarter. Motor cycles had the least number of renewals with 0.3 percent. Almost all the vehicle body types recorded an increase compared to the previous quarter, except the category of “others” which registered a decrease of 4.4 percent. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, Q3 2018, renewals increased by 7.2 percent.During the quarter under review, Q3 2019, Cities and Towns accounted for the highest number of renewals with 55.4 percent of the total renewals.

Of these renewals, 67.3 percent were recorded in Gaborone. Central District accounted for the second highest number of renewals with 13.5 percent, with Palapye having the highest number of renewals for that district with 23.3 percent. The southern district constituted 3.7 percent of total renewals, with 62.0 percent of those recorded in Kanye. The other district where a high number of renewals were recorded was Kweneng, which was accounting for 9.8 percent of total renewals. The district with the least number of renewals was North East with 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, a total of 276, 762 net tons of goods were transported using rail in Q3 2019, which showed 6.0 percent decrease from goods transported in Q2 2019. Total imports decreased by 11.0 percent and total exports decreased by 18.0 percent, while local traffic increased by 45.5 percent and Botswana total declined by 7.4 percent. Botswana Origin decreased by 5.1 percent while transit traffic increased by 22.2 percent. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, goods transported by rail in Q3 2018 decreased by 31.9 percent.

Most of the goods, 36.9 percent were transported during the month of September. July and August accounted for 34.1 and 29.0 percent respectively. Compared to the same months of the previous year, all the months registered a decrease on the goods transported. July and August registered a decrease of 32.0 and 41.4 percent respectively, while September registered a decrease of 21.7 percent in goods transported. Revenue generated from rail transport amounted to P57.2 million in Q3 2019, which was a decrease of 5.3 percent compared to what was generated in the previous quarter, Q2 2019.

In comparison to the same quarter of the previous year, there was a 27.8 percent decrease. For rail transport revenue, Botswana total accounted for 93.6 percent of total revenue while transit traffic accounted for 6.4 percent. During the month of September, revenue generated constituted 38.1 percent of total revenue. The months of July and August accounted for 34.7 and 27.2 percent respectively. Compared to the same months of the previous year, revenue collected in July and August decreased by 26.2 and 41.4 percent respectively. Revenue collected in September decreased by 15.1 percent

In Q3 2019, 84,789 passengers used the passenger train, giving an increase of 48.0 percent compared to Q2 2019. The increase is attributed to the introduction of the commuter train between Lobatse and Gaborone. A high number of passengers used standard class (83.6 percent).

Sleeper class and business class accounted for 6.7 and 9.7 percent respectively. A high number of passengers travelled by rail in the month of July recording 36.5 percent. The months of August and September registered 33.4 and 30.1 percent of total rail passengers. Total passenger revenue generated during Q3 2019 was P6, 021,000.

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Jackdish Shah loses interest in BDP

17th May 2022

As the preparations for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress are about to kick off, reports on the ground suggest that the party’s Deputy Treasurer Jackdish Shah will not defend the position in August as he contemplates relocation.

According to sources, the businessman who joined the BDP Central Committee in 2015 at the 36th Congress held in Mmadinare is ready to leave the party’s politburo. It is said he long made up his mind not to defend the position last year. A prominent businessman, Shah, when he won the position to assist Satar Dada in 2015 was expected to improve the party’s financial vibrancy. By then the party was under the leadership of Ian Khama.

According to close sources, Shah long decided not to contest because he has fallen out of favour with the party leadership. It is said he took the decision after some prominent businessmen who are BDP members and part of football syndicate decided to push him out and they used their proximity to President Mokgweetsi Masisi to badmouth him hence the decision.

“The fight at the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Botswana Football League (BFL) has left him alone in the desert and some faces there used their close access to the President to isolate him,” said a source. Media reports say, Shah does not see eye to eye with BFA President MacLean Letshwiti who is also Masisi’s buddy hence the decision.

BFL Chairman Nicholas Zackhem is said to be not in good terms with Shah, who at one point Chaired the then Botswana Premier League (BPL). “He is seriously considering quitting because of what is unfolding at the team (Township Rollers) which is slowly not making financial gains and might be relegated and he wants to sell while it is still worth the investment,” said a highly placed source.

Shah is a renowned businessman who runs internet providing company Zebra net, H &G, game farm in Kasane, cattle farm in Ghanzi region and lot of properties in Gaborone. He also has two hotels in USA, his advisors have given him thumbs up on the possible decision of relocating provided he does not sell some of the investments that are doing well.

Asked about whether he will be contesting Shah could not confirm nor deny the reports. It is said for now it is too early as a public decision will have to be taken after the national council meeting and prior to the national congress. “As a BDP Central Committee member he cannot make that announcement now,” a BDP source said.

BDP is expected to assemble for the National Council during the July holidays while the National Congress is billed for August. It is then that the party will elect a new CC members. The last time BDP held elective congress was at Kang in 2019. The party is yet to issue writ.

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Govt ignores own agreements to improve public service

17th May 2022

The government has failed to implement some commitments and agreements that it had entered into with unions to improve conditions of public servants.

Three years after the government and public made commitments aimed at improving conditions of work and services it has emerged that the government has ignored and failed to implement all commitments on conditions of service emanating from the 2019 round of negotiations.

In its position paper that saw public service salaries being increased by 5%, the government the government has also signalled its intention to renege on some of the commitments it had made.
“Government aspires to look into all outstanding issues contained in the Labour Agreement signed between the Employer and recognised Trade Union on the 27th August 2019 and that it be reviewed, revised and delinked by both Parties with a view to agree on those whose implementation that can be realistically executed during the financial years 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 respectively,” the government said.

Furthermore, in addition to reviewing, revising and de-linking of the outstanding issues contained in the Collective Labour Agreement alluded to above and taking on a progressive proposal, government desires to review revise, develop and implement human resource policies as listed below during the financial year 2022/23,2023/24,2024/25

They include selection and appointment policy, learning and development policy, transfer guidelines, conditions of service, permanent and pensionable, temporary and part time, Foreign Service, expatriate and disciplinary procedures.

In their proposal paper, the unions which had proposed an 11 percent salary increase but eventually settled for 5% percent indicated that the government has not, and without explanation, acted on some of the key commitments from the 2019/2020 and 2021/22 round of negotiations.  The essential elements of these commitments include among others the remuneration Policy for the Public Service.

The paper states that a Remuneration Policy will be developed to inform decision making on remuneration in the Public Service. It is envisaged that consultations between the government and relevant key stakeholders on the policy was to start on 1st September 2019, and the development of the policy should be concluded by 30th June 2020.

The public sector unions said the Remuneration Policy is yet to be developed. The Cooperating Unions suggested that the process should commence without delay and that it should be as participatory as it was originally conceived. Another agreement relate to Medical Aid Contribution for employees on salary Grades A and B.

The employer contribution towards medical aid for employees on salary Grades A and B will be increased from 50% to 80% for the Standard Option of the Botswana Public
“Officers’ Medical Aid Scheme effective 1st October 2019; the cooperating unions insist that, in fulfilling this commitment, there should be no discrimination between those on the high benefit and those on the medium benefit plan,” the unions proposal paper says.

Another agreement involves the standardisation of gratuities across the Public Service. “Gratuities for all employees on fixed term contracts of 12 months but not exceeding 5 years, including former Industrial class employees be standardized at 30% across the Public Service in order to remove the existing inequalities and secure long-term financial security for Public Service Employees at lower grades with immediate effect,” the paper states.

The other agreement signed by the public sector unions and the government was the development of fan-shaped Salary Structure. The paper says the Public Service will adopt a best practice fan-shaped and overlapping structure, with modification to suit the Botswana context. The Parties (government and unions) to this agreement will jointly agree on the ranges of salary grades to allow for employees’ progression without a promotion to the available position on the next management level.

“The fan-shaped structure is envisaged to be in place by 1st June 2020, to enable factoring into the budgetary cycle for the financial year 2021/22,” the unions’ proposal paper states. It says the following steps are critical, capacity building of key stakeholders (September – December 2019), commission remuneration market survey (3 months from September to November 2019), design of the fan-shaped structure (2 to 3 months from January to March2020) and consultations with all key stakeholders (March to April 2020).

The unions and government had also signed an agreement on performance management and development: A rigorous performance management and reward system based on a 5-point rating system will be adopted as an integral part of the operationalization of the new Remuneration System.

Performance Management and Development (PMD) will be used to reward workers based on performance. The review of the Performance Management System was to be undertaken in order to close the gaps identified by PEMANDU and other previous reports on PMS between 1st September 2019 and 30th June 2020 as follows; internal process to update and revise the current Performance Management System by January 2020.

A job evaluation exercise in the Public Service will also be undertaken to among others establish internal equity, and will also cover the grading of all supervisory positions within the Public Service.
Another agreement included overtime Management. The Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) was to facilitate the conclusion of consultations on management of overtime, including consideration of the Overtime Management Task Team’s report on the same by 30th November 2019.

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Health Expert rejects ‘death rates’ links to low population growth

17th May 2022

A public health expert, Dr Edward Maganu who is also the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health has said that unlike many who are expressing shock at the population census growth decline results, he is not, because the 2022 results represents his expectations.

He rushed to dismiss the position by Statistics Botswana in which thy partly attributes the low growth rates to mortality rates for the past ten years. “I don’t think there is any undercounting. I also don’t think death rates have much to do with it since the excessive deaths from HIV/AIDS have been controlled by ARVs and our life expectancy isn’t lower than it was in the 1990s,” he said in an interview with this publication post the release of the results.

Preliminary results released by Statistics Botswana this week indicated that Botswana’s population is now estimated to be 2,346,179 – a figure that the state owned data agency expressed worry over saying it’s below their projected growth. The general decline in the population growth rate is attributed to ‘fertility’ and ‘mortality’ rates that the country registered on the past ten years since the last census in 2011.

Maganu explained that with an enlightened or educated society and the country’s total fertility rate, there was no way the country’s population census was going to match the previous growth rates.
“The results of the census make sense and is exactly what I expected. Our Total Fertility Rate ( the average number of children born to a woman) is now around 2.

This is what happens as society develops and educates its women. The enlightened women don’t want to bear many children, they want to work and earn a living, have free time, and give their few children good care. So, there is no under- counting. Census procedures are standard so that results are comparable between countries.

That is why the UN is involved through UNFPA, the UN Agency responsible for population matters,” said Maganu who is also the former adviser to the World Health Organisation. Maganu ruled out undercounting concerns, “I see a lot of Batswana are worried about the census results. Above is what I have always stated.”

Given the disadvantages that accompany low population for countries, some have suggested that perhaps a time has come for the government to consider population growth policies or incentives, suggestions Maganu deems ineffective.

“It has never worked anywhere. The number of children born to a woman are a very private decision of the woman and the husband in an enlightened society. And as I indicated, the more the women of a society get educated, the higher the tendency to have fewer children. All developed countries have a problem of zero population growth or even negative growth.

The replacement level is regarded as 2 children per woman; once the fertility level falls below that, then the population stops growing. That’s why developed countries are depending so much on immigration,” he said.

According to him, a lot of developing countries that are educating their women are heading there, including ourselves-Botswana. “Countries that have had a policy of encouraging women to have more children have failed dismally. A good example is some countries of Eastern Europe (Romania is a good example) that wanted to grow their populations by rewarding women who had more children. It didn’t work. The number of children is a very private matter,” said Maganu

For those who may be worried about the impact of problems associated with low growth rate, Maganu said: “The challenge is to develop society so that it can take care of its dependency ratio, the children and the aged. In developed countries the ratio of people over 60 years is now more than 20%, ours is still less than 10%.”

The preliminary results show that Mogoditshane with (88,098) is now the biggest village in the country with Maun coming second (85,293) and Molepolole at third position with 74,719. Population growth is associated with many economic advantages because more people leads to greater human capital, higher economic growth, economies of scale, the efficiency of higher population density and the improved demographic structure of society, among many others.

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