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Govt moves to merge SPEDU, SEZA

Rationalization of parastatals and state funded agencies has been on the table since beginning of National Development Plan 11. This was conceptualized with a view to merge some parastatals that have overlapping mandates and duplicate basis of existence.

Information reaching WeekendPost suggest that Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU), will be merged with Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA). Established in 2008 SPEDU is an investment promotion company owned by the Government of Botswana tasked to coordinate investment promotion and economic diversification in the SPEDU region

The Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) Botswana is an institution under the Ministry of Investment Trade and Industry (MITI), established through the Special Economic Zones Act of 2015. SEZAs mandate is to establish, develop and manage Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

SEZA was set up to deliver investor friendly services and incentives aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of investors and providing supportive operating SEZ environment through delivery of a one stop shop service to enhance investor efficiency as well as providing serviced infrastructure and fit for purpose property solutions to investors.

The adverse impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on Botswanas economy and government revenue have amplified the need for rationalization of some parastatals, many of these organizations are view as a waste of government money. The novel corona virus has suppressed Botswanas fiscal muscle pushing government into reprioritization corner to embark on unprecedented cost serving drive.

Curtailing subvention funds to parastatals was highlighted as one of those key areas earmarked to free up money for more pressing matters. We will have to relook at the money channeled to our parastatals and state agencies, are we still getting value for money , under this situation of depressed government revenue we will have to reduce the amount of money we giving to our parastatals, said Minister of Finance & Economic Development Dr Thapelo Matsheka earlier this year in April.

Responding to WeekendPosts inquiry on SPEDU, SEZA matter Minister of Investment Trade & Industry Peggy Serame referred this publication to her parliament address on Tuesday. Minister Serame told lawmakers that Government had recognized the need to rationalize some parastatals noting that it has been observed that some have duplicate mandates and redundant deliverables.

This in turn has been underscored to stretch government coffers as hundreds of millions of subvention exit the national treasury, she said. Serame underscored that a committee has been set up led by Minister of Finance, Dr Thapelo Matsheka to asses all existing parastatals and state funded agencies.

Government has about 60 parastatals, in my ministry we have about 12 state owned enterprises, they are too many, we have started a process to reduce them, some will be merged with others , while some will not exist at all after this rationalization excise, said Serame.

She further told parliament that Minister Matshekas committee which has been tasked by cabinet will submit its findings on rationalization of State Owned Enterprises and parastatals in October this year. The findings of this assessment by Dr Matshekas committee will be presented to cabinet following which an exercise would commence to implement its findings, subject to cabinet approval.

Minister Serame revealed that the rationalization is not only intended to save government funds but also to improve efficiency and service delivery. Government is spending a lot of money on these SOEs and parastatals, we have been asked before why we have Botswana Development Corporation(BDC), National Development Bank (NDB) and Citizen Economic Empowerment (CEDA, we will look at these organizations and see how we reconfigure them to get value for money, she said.

Earlier this year Member of Parliament for Selibe Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse suggested that it was time SPEDUs mandate be reviewed. We need an expedited review of the mandate of SPEDU or close it down altogether.It cannot be business as usual. The towns economy needs resuscitation, he said.

According to Keorapetse SPEDU in its current form is incapacitated and unable to drive serious economic revitalization through cutting edge enterprises and labour intensive industries.
A broadened mandate to make a fully fledged investment arm of the region is what we need. SPEDU should be able to go into joint ventures with domestic and foreign investors and setup profit making business, he said in an interview with this publication in February after delivery of the 2020/21 Budget Speech.

He underscored that SPEDU must be able to do all things necessary to set up industries in Phikwe without being encumbered by any other entity. Thats what special economic zone principle is about, he said. On Tuesday SPEDU Corporate Communications Manager Sheila Moakufi told WeekendPost that she was not aware of the imminent merger or restructuring of SPEDU. That would be high level information and I am not aware of it as yet, she said.

 

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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