Botswana registered a significant decline in the trade deficit for the month of June 2021, following a massive jump in exports against a decrease in imports.
Figures contained in the International Merchandise Trade Statistics for the month, released by Statistics Botswana on Thursday, reveals that in June 2021, the total export value went up by 43.4 percent or 2.124 billion from the revised May 2021 figure of P4.899 billion to P7.024 billion.
According to the country’s central data body, the rise is attributed mainly to the exportation of Diamonds by 43.9 percent (P2. 1503 billion) from P4.280 billion in May 2021 to P6.430 billion in June 2021. Imports were valued at P7.6356 billion, 1.9 percent (P145.9 million) below the May 2021 revised figure of P7.7814billion.
A decrease of 36.1 percent (P248.5 million) in the importation of Vehicles & Transport Equipment substantially affected the overall decline in total imports value, contributing 3.2 percentage points.
However, the overall decrease was dampened by the increase of 16.4 percent (P107.8 million) for Chemicals & Rubber Products, making a positive contribution of 1.4 percentage points.
The over 43 percent growth in exports against the 1.9 percent decrease in imports significantly moved the trade balance. Botswana recorded a trade deficit of P611.4 million during June 2021. The latest deficit follows a revised trade deficit of P2.887 billion for May 2021, mirroring a massive decline.
The Diamonds group accounted for 91.5 percent (P6.430 billion) of total exports, followed by Machinery & Electrical Equipment with 2.2 percent (P151.1 million). Asia was the leading destination for Botswana exports, having received 61.2 percent (P4.295 billion) of total exports during June 2021.
These exports mostly went to the UAE and India, having received 27.6 percent (P1.94 billion) and 17.0 percent (P1.19 billion) of total exports during the month under review, respectively. Diamonds accounted for 99.9 percent of exports to the UAE and 100 percent of exports to India. During the month under review, exports destined to the EU amounted to P1.88 billion, accounting for 26.8 percent of total exports.
Belgium received almost all the exports destined to the regional block, acquiring 26.7 percent (P1.87 billion) of total exports during the reporting period. The Diamonds group was the leading commodity group exported to the EU. The SACU region received exports valued at P644.4 million, representing 9.2 percent of total exports.
Diamonds and Machinery and Electrical Equipment commodity groups accounted for 26.2 percent (P169.1 million) and 22.0 percent (P141.5 million) of total exports to the customs union, respectively. South Africa received 8.8 percent (P615.4 million) of total exports during the month under review.
The USA received 1.4 percent (P99.3 million) of total exports during June 2021, with 99.7 percent (P99.0 million) attributable to Diamonds. In June 2021, Botswana received imports valued at P7.63 billion. Diamonds contributed 36.9 percent (P2.814 billion) to total imports, Food, Beverages & Tobacco; and Fuel, followed by 11.3 percent (P859.5 million) and 11.2 percent (P858.7 million), respectively. Machinery & Electrical Equipment, contributed 11.1 percent (P850.6 million).
The SACU region contributed 63.5 percent (P4. 845 billion) to total imports during the reference period. The topmost imported commodity groups from the SACU region were Diamonds; Fuel and Food, Beverages & Tobacco, with contributions of 17.3 percent (P837.8 million), 17.2 percent (P834.2 million), and 16.7 percent (P810.6 million) to total imports from the region, respectively.
South Africa contributed 59.0 percent (P4.5 billion) to total imports during June 2021. Food, Beverages & Tobacco contributed 17.6 percent (P794.2 million) of imports from that country. Fuel and Diamonds accounted for 16.8 percent (P758.2 million) and 13.6 percent (P612.9 million), respectively. Namibia contributed 4.4 percent (P332.7 million) to the overall imports during the period under review.
In that order, diamonds and Fuel were the primary commodities imported at 67.6 percent (P224.9 million) and 22.8 percent (P76.0 million) of imports from the country. Imports from Asia were valued at P1.36 billion, representing 17.8 percent of June 2021 total imports. The primary commodity group imported from the regional block was Diamonds, with 71.4 percent (P971.8 million) of total imports from the region.
Russia, India, and the UAE were the primary sources of imports from Asia, having supplied 4.8 percent (P367.9 million), 4.5 percent (P343.3 million), and 4.3 percent (P327.6 million) of total imports, respectively.
The EU supplied imports amounting to P964.1 million, accounting for 12.6 percent of total imports. The primary commodity group imported from the EU was Diamonds, at 76.6 percent (P738.5 million) of all imports from the union. Belgium was the primary source of imports from the EU, having supplied 11.2 percent (P852.9 million) of total imports during the period under review.
Canada supplied 3.5 percent (P267.1 million) of the total imports during June 2021. The major commodity traded was Diamonds, with a contribution of 98.7 percent (P263.8 million) to the overall imports from the country. During June, imports representing 54.6 percent (P4.16 billion) were transported into the country by Road.
Transportation of imports by Air and Rail accounted for 27.5 percent (P2.099 billion) and 17.9 percent (P1.36 billion), respectively. During the month, goods exported by Air amounted to P6.517 billion, accounting for 92.8 percent of total exports, while those leaving the country by Road and Rail transport were valued at P493.7 million (7.0 percent) P12.9 million (0.2 percent) respectively.
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
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Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.