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Maun airport sustained as the busiest landing strip in 2019

The Statistics Botswana Transport and Infrastructure Brief for Q3 2019 released recently says Maun airport was the busiest air field with 67 percent of total aircraft movements in Quarter 3 2019..

Air transport means the movement of aircrafts and air passengers both locally and internationally. The movements are categorized into scheduled, non-scheduled and private movements. Scheduled aircraft movements refer to commercial airlines operating on a time table while non-scheduled aircraft movements refer to commercial aircrafts which do not have to operate using a time table but operate as and when needed. Private aircraft movements refer to non-commercial individual aircrafts. Scenic aircraft movements refer to airlines that focus on wildlife and surrounding natures.

Sir Seretse Khama international airport followed with 14.6 percent of aircraft movements, while the Selibe Phikwe and Ghanzi both recorded the least number of aircraft movements contributing only 0.1 percent. The month of July, verified 32.3 percent of total aircraft movements recorded during Q3 2019. August and September also logged 35.9 and 31.8 percent of total aircraft movements respectively.

In Q3 2019 most of the international movements were recorded at Sir Seretse Khama International airport with 57.8 percent of total international movements. The report indicated that Maun airport handled mostly domestic movements, accounting for 77.1 percent of the total domestic movements. When compared with the previous quarter, Q2 2019, for both international and domestic movements, all airports registered a significant increase.

A total of 275,406 passenger movements were recorded during the quarter under review, Q3 2019. This was an increase of 20.1 percent compared to passenger movements recorded in Q2 2019. Maun airport handled mostly domestic movements, the brief designated. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, Q3 2018, an increase of 12.5 percent was recorded. International and domestic passenger movements increased by 11.6 percent and 32.5 percent respectively compared to Q2 2019.

Further, aircraft movements saw an increment of 35.1 percent when compared to Q2 2019. In comparison to the same quarter of the previous year, Q3 2018, aircraft movements went up by 21.7 in each hundred, however air passenger movements augmented by 20.1 percent in Q3 2019 compared to Q2 2019.

In a period under review, international passenger movements accounted for 55.0 percent of total passenger movements, while domestic passenger movements constituted 45.0 percent. Most of the international passenger movements were made at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport which accounted for 57.8 percent of total international passenger movements. A high number of domestic passenger movements were made in Maun airport accounting for 77.1 percent of total domestic passenger movements.

Scheduled passenger flights accounted for 71.0 percent of total air passenger movements while non– scheduled passenger flights accounted for 24.4 percent of total air passenger movements. Private and scenic passenger flights accounted for 1.0 percent and 3.6 percent respectively. Compared to the previous quarter, Q2 2019, all the three types of flights recorded an increase except for scenic flights which were recently included for the first time; scheduled passenger flights recorded an increase of 15.3 percent while both private and non-Scheduled flight movements increased by 17.2 percent each.

The highest number of passenger movements was recorded at Sir Seretse Khama international airport; it accounted for 46.2 percent of all the total air passenger movements. Compared to the previous quarter, Q2 2019, Sir Seretse Khama international airport movements increased by 7.9 percent. Maun airport had the second highest number of passenger movements; it constituted 35.6 percent of the total passenger movements which was a 33.4 percent increase compared to the previous quarter, Q2 2019. All airports recorded an increase except Selebi Phikwe airport. It registered 28.9 percent decrease in passenger movements.

Most of the passenger movements recorded at Sir Seretse Khama international airport were scheduled, accounting for 63.3 percent of the total scheduled movements. Maun recorded 22.7 percent of the total scheduled movements, while Kasane and Francistown accounted for 9.6 and 4.4 percent of the total scheduled passenger movements respectively. The highest number of non-scheduled passenger movements was recorded at Maun accounting for 63.8 percent of total non-scheduled passenger movements. Scheduled passenger movements constituted 71.0 percent of total passenger movements, while non-scheduled and private accounted for 24.4 and 1.0 percent respectively. Scenic passenger movements constituted 3.6 percent of total passenger movements

Meanwhile, In Q3 2019, a total of 15.333 vehicles were transported using the pontoon. This shows a 9.6 percent decline when compared to the previous quarter, Q2 2019. The number of vehicles entering and exiting the country declined; going down by 16.4 and 3.3 respectively. Compared to the 17,944 vehicles recorded during the same quarter of the previous year, vehicle numbers declined by 14.6 percent. Most of the vehicles were transported during the month of September constituting 33.8 percent of the total vehicles transported, and the months of July and August accounted for 33.5 and 32.7 percent respectively.

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Botswana on high red alert as AML joins Covid-19 to plague mankind

21st September 2020

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.

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Finance Committee cautions Gov’t against imprudent raising of debt levels

21st September 2020
Finance Committe Chairman: Thapelo Letsholo

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.

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Gov’t Investment Account drying up fast!  

21st September 2020
Dr Matsheka

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”

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