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Masisi tightens grip on international travel ban

President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi

President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has moved to tighten his grip on external travel as his office recently informed government ministries and departments that public servants who intend to travel outside the country should seek permission from the Office of the President.

This is according to a savingram from the Office of the President seen by this publication signed by deputy Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, Matshidiso Bokole sent out to ministries, departments and agencies.  She reminded ministries and government departments that Presidential Directive CAB 6/2020 placed a moratorium on external mainly due to the pandemic.

“The lifting of the State of Emergency has not rescinded the Presidential Directive in question. This mean that external travel is still restricted save for travel that holds strategic benefit and is aligned to national, sectoral, ministerial high impact priorities,” said Bokole.  In that regard, Bokole said all written motivation for external travel should indicate how the travel is aligned to any of the aforementioned, particularly the strategic benefit to be derived.

“Please note that in view of the Presidential Directive CAB 6/2020, a waiver for external travel must be sought from his Excellency the President. Permanent Secretaries are therefore not empowered to authorise external travel for any officer irrespective of grade,” she said. Bokole said this means that even the officers on salary D1 and below, requests for a waiver of the external travel moratorium should always be sought from the PSP’s Office adding that approval of the request should always be awaited before air tickets and related travel arrangement are proceeded with.

“To avoid submitting multiple requests, please always indicate names and designation of officers accompanying Honourable Ministers in the same request for permission for the Minister’s external travel,” said Bokole adding that  She added that, “We are all urged to comply with this guidance and continue to prioritiserecommendations for external travel also bearing in mind cost efficiency. Therefore, the size of the delegation should always be kept to the minimum.”

According to Bokole, “By this savingram, addresses are requested to submit reports on all external travels undertaken during 2021/2022. The information should include officers who have undertaken international travel across all salary grades in the Ministry, department or agency.” She said these reports would continue to be submitted on a quarterly basis on the last day of the month.

“Furthermore we are requested to include information on all officers currently attending or those who have previously attended the Expo 2020 Dubai including those from State Owned Enterprises. Information on the Expo 2020 Dubai should be included in the same attached template for other external travel. Submissions are to reach Office of the President by Friday 5th November, 2021,’ said Bokole.

According to the travel moratorium that Bokole made reference to, “A High-Level COVID-19 National Response Committee was established with immediate effect to heighten the response for the pandemic, a moratorium be imposed on external travel by the political and judicial leadership as well as the rest of the public service with immediate effect until further notice and the hosting of international meetings and conferences by Botswana be suspended with immediate effect until further notice.”  The moratorium also stated that, “All citizens and residents of Botswana are advised to postpone travel to affected countries to minimize the risk of coronavirus.”

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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