Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 15 August 2017 - Botswana Guardian
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 14:35

MPs’ secret salary hike under wraps

Members of Parliament are expected to get more than the initial 4 percent which was published in the Government Gazette in April this year, Botswana Guardian has been informed.

According to the initial Bill the MPs were to get four (4) percent salary hike. At press time Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Eric Molale was scheduled to present some amendments to Parliament which are expected to increase MPs’ salaries by around P10 000 which is close to 40 percent. 

The Bill, currently at committee stage, has been embraced by MPs across the aisle. During the previous Parliament sitting, this Bill nearly caused an uproar as MPs wanted it to be tabled before they could debate and support the President’s (Pensions and Retirement) Bill. Prior to agreeing to the four (4) percent proposed by Government, MPs had allegedly proposed 25 percent increase, 40 percent Constituency Allowance, Provision of transport for each Constituency and review of their Terminal Benefits. 

Presidential Affairs Minister Eric Molale however awarded the MPs four (4) percent salary increase and 40 percent Constituency allowance. According to the Bill published on 6th April 2017 the President, Vice President, Ministers, assistant ministers and MPs will have their 4 percent salary increment backdated to April 1st 2017 as soon as Parliament passes the Bill. 

Under the Bill a 4 percent increase would bring an MP’s monthly salary to P23, 786 per month which is P285, 432. 20 every year. Information has been sketchy on the new development as Minister Molale would not avail the amendments. MPs approached by this publication could also not give a definite figure of the increase even though they confirmed that the increase would be more than 4 percent. 

Their excuse has been that Molale has not given them copies of the amendment as he promised. When approached, the minister directed this publication to speak to Government Spokesperson Dr Jeff Ramsay to assist with the figures. Ramsay however maintained that MPs will just get a 40 percent increment for constituency allowance and 4 percent as salary increment. 

At Press time, Parliament was scheduled to finalise the Bill yesterday (Thursday). Government Whip and Opposition Whip were also not able to assist on the pending amendments. Supporting the increase in Parliament, MPs have indicated that even though they understand the hard economic times felt by the country, their salaries have to match their work. They have revealed that what they are doing is not for them but the institution (Parliament).

Government Whip Liakat Kably said he is happy that all MPs are in agreement. He said the increment would go a long way in uplifting their lives and assisting them in executing their duties at constituency level. He explained that their salaries have been low as compared to other countries.  He said even though people might think MPs are being selfish, the public have to think of the work that legislators do.

When debating the Bill, Opposition Whip Wynter Mmolotsi said MPs have not been getting what they deserve. He stated that they share the little they get with their constituents. Mmolotsi said they appreciate that their salaries should improve and improve significantly. He expressed worry that even though Parliament is considered one of the arms of government, MPs are lowly paid. He wondered what would be wrong if an MP gets what is equivalent to what is being earned by a judge.

He however called for their salaries to be considered by an independent body. He said MPs should not be deciding their salaries and the mandate should be given to the Parliamentary Service Commission. 

During a General Assembly in April, Minister Molale is said to have indicated that there are no sufficient funds to meet all the demands by MPs. The minister, according to MPs who attended the meeting, indicated that as per the recommendations by MPs Rights and Privileges (Staff Welfare) Committee Chairman Haskins Nkaigwa, all those proposed would not be met but the remaining ones are not being thrown away.  

The minister is said to have indicated that as government they would continue to engage with MPs on their proposals and grievances.According to the Bill published the same date it was to be tabled in Parliament on 6th April 2017 the President, Vice President, Ministers, assistant ministers and MPs would have their 4 percent salary increment backdated to April 1st 2017 as soon as Parliament passes the Bill. 

The Bill is expected to be passed during the winter session (July this year), which is a session that focuses on Bills.

Even though the MPs have complained about their tools of trade they have scored big on Constituency Allowances, which have been increased by 40 percent which is almost P3 000. A Constituency such as Gaborone Central, which has been getting P6 185, 15 would now get P8 659, 21 which annually comes to P103 910, 52. 

A Constituency such as Okavango would get P10 628, 98 per month from P7 592, 13. Under the amended Act annually the constituency would get P127 547, 78. Although the MPs hail this increase they argue that a lot still needs to be done in terms of availing tools of trade for MPs in their respective constituencies for executive government duties and programmes. 

They still believe that provision of a motor vehicle and a driver per constituency should be considered. In the salaries the Bill states that the President would annually pocket P907 595, 50; Vice President at the rate of P535 902, 10; a minister P470 959, 80; Speaker P470 959, 80; Assistant Minister, Deputy Speaker and Leader of Opposition all at the rate of P397 085, 50; Government Whip P315 125. 20; Opposition Whip P302 888, 60 while MPs would get P285 432, 20 per annum.

Published in News
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 14:30

IMF calls for public sector reforms

Economic policies sound for economic stability 

Privatisation should be accelerated

Botswana should seriously consider reforming its public sector in addition to keeping a close eye on investment made on its education sector to avoid skills mismatch, International Monetary Fund (IMF) advised on Tuesday. 

This suggestion is, but part of a number of recommendations which the Bretton-Woods institution wants the landlocked country to undertake if it is to attain sustained economic recovery and prosperity going forward. 

Botswana, a semi-arid country poised for an expanded budget deficit this current financial year, should urgently proceed with measures to improve the planning, prioritisation and execution of investment programmes which fall under the private sector.

Recently, finance ministry Secretary for Economic and Financial Policy, Dr Taufila Nyamadzabo told the media that IMF has raised concerns over the amount of funds invested in public projects and the return thereof. 

Moreover,  the 50 year-old country should also build capacity in the management of public-private partnerships, improve the financial monitoring and evaluation of state-owned enterprises as well as accelerating the privatisation of key loss-making enterprises. In the past, some of the top officials manning government parastatals have been forced to step down due to allegations of corruption and incompetency, which in the end affected some public corporations adversely. 

Since privatisation was mooted more than 15 years ago, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) remains the only entity to have partly fallen in private hands through a stock listing last year. Other candidates for privatisation are Air Botswana and National Development Bank (NDB). 

Recently, Air Botswana’s privatisation bid hit a snag after the chosen strategic partner, Wilderness Safari pulled out at the last minute. Initial efforts to privatise the national airline in the early 2000s were also unsuccessful. The Washington-based IMF has also called on government to speed up the establishment of the energy regulator, Botswana Energy Regulator (BERA), review the structure of electricity subsidies and reduce political interference on them. Government recently appointed Rose Seretse as founding CEO of the energy regulator, a development which has set tongues wagging. She is currently head of government’s graft-busting agency, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC). 

IMF economists, who were in Botswana some weeks ago, have also suggested that government enhance education outcomes and reduce skills mismatch. “The authorities need to accelerate the implementation of the strategic plan aimed at enhancing the quality of instruction and training across education levels,” said IMF which Botswana is a member of. 

Speaking at a consultative meeting with professional bodies recently, Human Resource Development Council’s (HRDC) Human Resource Development Planning (HRDP) Director, Dr.  Ellah Matshediso said they are planning to redirect the needs of the industry to educational institutions so that graduates’ qualifications are aligned to what the workplace needs. 

HRDC is responsible for planning and funding of the education and training as well as advising government on all matters related to human capital development. IMF has also told Botswana to deepen dialogue between the private and public sector to improve the quality of education in the country. 

Granting of work-permits to foreign workers should be made easy. “These actions will ultimately foster private sector development and facilitate the transfer of skills to the domestic labour force,” said IMF. Botswana has over the years been criticised for being rigid on issuance of work permits to foreigners, a development which hampers competitiveness. To boost the country’s ease of doing business, government should also accelerate plans to establish one stop shop to reduce the burden of moving from one office to another. 

Botswana has tried over the years to diversify the economy but with little success. The IMF has provided some advice in its latest report on the mining-rich economy. “Efforts to diversify the economy can usefully focus on removing distortions and improving competitiveness,” said the crisis-lending Fund headed by Christene Lagarde. Capacity constraints, high transport costs, and the risks associated with industrial policies argue for an approach based on removing distortions and investing wisely in key public infrastructure. 

“If industrial policies are pursued, the authorities should undertake careful cost-benefit analysis and ensure minimal government intervention. Furthermore, fiscal incentives and tax concessions (including in economic zones) should also be carefully evaluated and, if granted, be in the form of accelerated depreciation schemes or investment tax credits,” pointed-out IMF.  On a more positive note, the Fund has commended the Ian Khama-led economy for its appropriate macro-economic policies. 

The economy is undergoing a cyclical recovery and the outlook is broadly positive. Supported by a gradual rebound in the global diamond market and public investment, annual real economic growth is projected to approach 5 percent in the near term while prudent financial policies are expected to maintain inflation within the 3–6 percent objective range set by the Bank of Botswana (BoB). In the medium-term, the outlook is also positive and risks are balanced, said the IMF. BoB has kept interest rate at 5, 5 percent, although commercial banks have complained it (rate) has reduced their profitability. The central bank will release its decision on bank rate in less than two weeks from now. 

Published in News

Zion Christian Church (ZCC) and its leader Barnabas Edward Lekganyane suffered a setback after being ordered not to hold disciplinary hearing against 11 ‘wayward’ members.

The church and its leader lost the first round of their marathon legal battle against the 11 church members. They also have a matter before Justice Mothobi of the Gaborone High Court. The 11 disgruntled members of Tlokweng Branch had taken the church before Lobatse High Court to interdict it against holding a disciplinary hearing against them after they challenged the way things are run in Botswana. 

Lobatse High Court Judge Nthomiwa Nthomiwa agreed with the applicants that they have made a case and interdicted the church and its leader and restrained them from holding any disciplinary hearing against them in terms of the Notice to Attend a Disciplinary hearing dated 20th November 2015, pending the outcome of their case before Justice Mothobi. 

The applicants also wanted the court to interdict ZCC and Lekganyane from holding such a disciplinary hearing pending the church and its leader listening to and addressing the grievances lodged by the applicants with the church on April 8th 2014 and alternatively, the respondents’ furnishing the applicants with particulars of the charges they are alleged to have committed.

In the main application before Mothobi which has been set for argument on the 29th of this month, the church members are challenging the way the church is governed in Botswana. They argue that ever since 2009 no Annual General Meeting has been held and that the head office in Botswana has no minister as per the constitutional requirement. 

They want an order declaring that ZCC and Lekganyane are violating the Constitution by not convening annual general meetings on a yearly basis or at all as provided for by the ZCC Constitution; appointing a Minister since July 2009; appointing the executive Council in accordance with the Constitution; putting in place structures such as the property committee and that the church and its leader should be ordered to correct these anomalies.In his judgement, Justice Nthomiwa dismissed claims raised by the respondents during arguments that the applicants had withdrawn their case. “If an agreement to settle had been reached it could have been confirmed in writing as is customary in this jurisdiction or at least an application could have been made to court for confirmation of the oral settlement agreement. Of further note is that the Constitution of the ZCC does not exclude the right to have grievances heard. The ZCC as a voluntary organisation is also subject to rules of natural justice and the right to be heard is an important right,” he stated. 

He also dismissed the point raised by the respondents that the applicants were not entitled to request for further particulars of their offence. He said the request for further particulars was a valid request, which the church and its leader should have addressed to facilitate preparations for the subsequent hearing by the applicants.

According to the history of the case, the matter arises from the decision by the church and its leader communicated to the applicants summoning them to a disciplinary hearing scheduled for the 12th December 2015. The applicants are active members of the ZCC praise and worship group ‘Mokhukhu’. The applicants are said to have on several occasions lodged grievances with the church but with no success. They once filed a case with the court and withdrew it. Soon after withdrawing the case they were served with disciplinary charges dated June 27th 2015. Attorney Uyapo Ndadi represented the aq   pplicants while Senior Counsel Soraya Hassim represented Lekganyane and ZCC from the Pretoria Bar.

Published in News
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 14:23

Khama wants P42m to buy 3 used Choppers

Parliament this week approved Tshekedi Khama’s request for over P41 million emergency-funding for his Ministry to buy three (3) used helicopters to monitor elephants’ movement.

But it was not without vigorous debate from opposition MPs, who argued that this is a waste of time and resources as it does not address the escalating human-elephant conflict that the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism faces.

Presenting the Financial Paper this week, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Kenneth Matambo said it contains supplementary estimates of expenditure from the Consolidated Fund amounting to P25, 114, 910 and estimates from the Development Fund for the sum of P41, 600, 000.  

“The ministry request P41, 600, 000 from the Development Fund under the Sustainable Environment Programme, to be used for the procurement of three (3) used helicopters, aviation fuel bowsers (9) tankers and radio communication equipment. As a consequence, the 2017/18-ministry budget needs to be increased by P41, 600, 000 from P135, 075, 175 to P176, 675, 175,” said the minister.

Matambo said P25, 114, 910 would be used for increasing manpower with 104 new staff, repair of 150 off-road vehicles, purchase of shade netting equipment among others.

Matambo however noted concerns by the Parliamentary Finance and Estimates Committee regarding supplementary funding requests by ministries. “With respect to the committee’s comments that they approved the supplementary Estimates of Expenditure because there was a Presidential Directive, I wish to advise that the committee has the mandate to examine the supplementary budget request and make recommendations as they consider appropriate,” he said. 

In its report the Finance and Estimates Committee stated that it has observed with concern the perennial and large supplementary estimates submitted by ministries. The committee said some ministries don’t heed advice to make requests for emergencies and unforeseen circumstances but instead request or budgetable items.

The committee called for fiscal prudence in all ministries and that where procurement is involved, ministries are advised to follow tendering processes and regulations, even where it involves selective tendering. 

The Committee Chairman Ignatius Moswaane told Parliament that procurement has not yet been done for the helicopters. He said they were convinced as the committee by the relevant ministries and Accounting Officers that it would be best to procure the second hand helicopters. 

Moswaane, who is also MP for Francistown West said that the ministry of environment has made research before settling for second hand aircraft. “There is no how they could have come before the committee without something to present. Looking at budget constraints they had to settle for used helicopters. They have also promised us that the helicopters would be bought through tendering process. 

“I ask the MPs not to have any doubt and support the request because as the committee we have thoroughly done our work”, said Moswaane who maintained that they were not pressured to approve the request. 

MPs however dismissed the suggestion that helicopters would assist with driving elephants away from areas they are not wanted. They argued that this would be a temporary measure that would not bring any desirable results.

“I am not happy with this request especially for buying second hand helicopters. This would be a costly exercise. Why can’t we reduce the number of these elephants so that we are able to manage them? We are keeping them in large numbers for whose benefit?” asked MP for Ghanzi North Noah Salakae. 

MP for Chobe Machana Shamukuni also called for the elephants to be sold to help resolve the problem. He said the proposed strategy would only be short-lived. 

Pius Mokgware MP for Gabane-Mankgodi stated that buying the helicopters is a waste of time. He dismissed the strategy as not viable. “Next year you will be coming to the same Parliament asking for yet another funding to buy helicopters because these used ones would be of no use to your ministry. At least try culling because your current strategy would be a drawback. Your ministry has been buying off-road motor vehicles, you took others from Central Transport Organisation (CTO) but they are not being used”, he said.

In his request Minister Khama said there has been an influx of elephants in the country, which has caused problems. “The world is busy praising us for having a large number of elephants but they are not assisting us with the problems. We would have to at some point ask the world to assist us”, the minister stated.

He said they want the supplementary funding to put in place measures to deal with the problem of elephant movements, which have been observed further south of the country in districts hitherto not populated by elephants such as Southern, Ghanzi, Kgatleng, Kweneng and Kgalagadi.

Published in News
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 14:19

Pope accepts Bishop Seane resignation

Catholics around Botswana and neighbouring countries have expressed shock at the sudden resignation of Bishop Valentine Tsamme Seane from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Gaborone. 

The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Seane but Catholics who spoke to BG News on condition of anonymity said “his resignation is unexpected as it has never happened before in Botswana”.   

Seane, who was liked by many and famous  for playing key roles in many peace keeping missions, tendered his resignation this week to the leader of the Catholic Church in Vatican City, Rome- Pope Francis. Following the Pope’s approval, Seane yesterday announced his resignation as the Bishop of the Diocese of Gaborone. In his letter of communication to the congregation,Seane says after prayer and reflection he has decided to step down from his present ministry of leadership of the Diocese of Gaborone for personal reasons. 

“I am still a Catholic priest and Bishop. After some time Providence and the Church will decide how best I can continue to serve the body of Christ,” says Seane. Having served the Diocese of Gaborone for eight years as Bishop, Seane believes he has worked for the increase and deepening of the faith in people. “Many people have grown in their faith and now they are proud to be Catholics. 

These signs of grace give me inner spiritual joy. Our journey in the Lord is ongoing until we reach the Promised Land,” he said. According to the report, the Pope has appointed His Lordship Frank Nubuasah S.V.D., who is currently the apostolic administrator of Vicariate of Francistown to be apostolic administrator of the Diosece of Gaborone. 

Meanwhile Catholics are still shocked by the decision of the Bishop’s resignation which they say was unexpected as it has never happened in Botswana.    

Published in News
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 14:17

BOFEPPUSU steals the thunder from BDP

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has accused Botswana Federation of Public, Private Sector Unions (BOFEPPUSU) of stealing its limelight off the payment of back-pays for public servants.

BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi explained this week that they are surprised to see the media awash with reports that BOFEPPUSU is pushing for the ‘immediate’ payment of back-pays for public servants who are BOFEPPUSU members. 

When government made salary increment last year and this year, it decided to exclude BOFEPPUSU because at that time they were still members of the currently moribund Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC). 

According to the Deputy Secretary General of the federation, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa BOFEPUSU wrote a letter to the Director of Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), Ruth Maphorisa last month indicating that it is importantly necessary to make payment of salary increment arrears to members of the BOFEPPUSU affiliates for purpose of equity. 

This week Balopi said they are the ones who spoke to government especially Minister of Finance and Economic Development Kenneth Matambo and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Eric Molale. He stated that no one pushed that issue but the BDP. 

“The proof is our resolution where the BDP resolved at its elective congress in Tonota last month that government should backdate the 3 percent salaries for public servants who did not get their increase due to the protracted legal battle between government and BOFEPPUSU. The resolution we took in Tonota said immediately. Now we see people say they have asked government to pay with immediate effect as if they are the ones who pushed the matter,” Balopi stated. 

He explained that they learnt about this through a letter from BOFEPUSU to Presidential Affairs Minister Molale. Balopi however said they are not fighting over the matter but their argument is that BOFEPPUSU started talking about paying public servants their dues immediately after the BDP had taken a binding resolution on the matter.  

“That decision to call for immediate payment came after they went to court, pulled out of PSBC and following our decision from the congress. We take our public service seriously and we know their worth,” he said.

Motshegwa stated that the Government had already made a unilateral increment of three percent and four percent for financial years 2016/17 and 2017/18 respectively to non-unionised public servants and unionised members of Unions not affiliated to BOFEPPUSU. 

He said the DPSM boss has not responded to their call even though at the last court settlement the government has promised to pay salary arrears without any conditions. 

“Other public servants have already been awarded the increment effective 1st April 2016 for financial year 2016/17 and effective 1st April 2017 for financial year 2017/18,” said Motshegwa. 

Published in News
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 14:07

Christianity and the transgender debate

Some local pastors are suggesting that Tshepo Ricki Kgositau, who has launched a landmark case against government for refusing to change her gender marker, needs deliverance. 

Kgositau wants to be recognised and addressed as a woman. She was born a male. Her case will be heard before Gaborone High Court Judge Leatile Dambe on 12 December 2017. It had to be postponed from last week as Dambe is out of the country.

In an interview, Pastor Matthew Makola of Grace Church in Kanye says Kgositau should confess her sin to God for changing her gender identity. He says that Kgositau should know that ‘after God created her, He saw her as good like the rest of His creation.’ He questions her motive for transforming her identity. 

“In the beginning God created man and woman and they never changed how they were made. Kgositau should repent and survive hell,” he says, citing Genesis 1 to explain how God created human beings. Another church leader Prophet Kgolagano Nokaneng of Divine says that it is the work of Satan for a human being to change her gender identity. 

He states that a man who wants to be a woman brings confusion to the society. “If he felt inside that he was a woman, she should have sought deliverance from churches and not done expensive surgeries. Now the attention following her will stick forever,” he says.

But for Pastor Lucas Mthethwa of St. John Apostolic Church, God loves sinners but hates sin. He says that people who have gender identity issues should run to God and not surgeries. “What is she going to tell her children? That she was a man first and did a surgery? We need God more than ever,” he says, adding that God still loves Kgositau but wants her to make things right with Him.

“She needs to be prayed for,” he says. 

Speaking to a sister publication recently, The Midweek Sun, Kgositau noted that she did not take kindly to being referred to as a man regardless of the circumstances. 

“I don’t appreciate how certain members of society have continued to address me as a ‘he’ instead of a ‘she.’ I gave my time to some people, opening myself up and sharing intimate details of my life but my experiences are being sensationalised,” she said.

Coordinator of the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana Caine Youngman says pastors should refrain from questioning Kgositau’s decision, and rather preach love. “God has a purpose for transgender people too, that’s why He created them,” he says, adding that Kgositau is a Christian. 

The biggest claim of the transgender movement is that a man who thinks he’s a woman can really be a woman, and vice versa. This manifests in many ways — from preferred pronouns, sex reassignment surgeries, and demands to use the restroom of perceived rather than given gender.

 

Published in News
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 14:01

Impact investing in Botswana is possible

In a modern world where one bank’s decision can lead to a domino effect that results in total paralysis of the world’s financial system, times have come for capital markets to make a 180 degree turn-around to introspect. 

It’s a world in which a Murdoch-type Ponzi scheme can rip off billions of US dollars from pension funds and wipe off the savings of thousands, a world where the richest 10 people supposedly hold 90 percent of global wealth. 

Capital markets priorities have traditionally been two fold - risk versus return. Impact investing shifts the capital markets tectonic plates from this conventional school of thought to bring in the aspect of impact -more specifically, “social impact”. This type of model is right at the intersection of philanthropy and for-profit capitalism. 

In earnest, this investor sees himself as contributing to the social good and at the same time still making profit. This type of investing has gained much-needed momentum in the developed world and is slowly spreading towards sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that global investors are redirecting capital at the rate of a growth of 19 percent more capital invested in Africa in 2017 and beyond than in 2013, when the model was fairly new. 

According to the 2017 Annual Impact Investor Survey, 208 respondents collectively manage a minimum of US$114 Billion in assets of impact investing. The survey collected data on a large array of institutions that varied from pension fund managers to banks and even foundations. The report goes on to note that 89 percent of investments are below market rate or not adjusted for risk rate. A point which most investors agree, poses a considerable threat to social impact investing. 

Botswana is not classified as an emerging market but a frontier market according to FTSE, Standard & Poor and the Russel lists. An emerging market is a market that mimics or has certain characteristics similar to those of a developed market. On the other hand, frontier market is one that is developing slower than that of an emerging economy, but more than a least developed country or failed states. 

This article attempts to look at different industries which impact investors can consider with a view to possibly improve socio economic indicators in Botswana.

The world over, it is estimated that 34 percent of all corporate giants invested in agriculture invest in sub-Saharan Africa. This on its own is an indication that as food prices continue to soar, investors continue to rake in profits and so does the region become more food secure. Botswana like many other African countries continues to hold vast underdeveloped natural resources like land and surface water bodies. 

With more than half the population being under 65, labour is highly available and cheap but as noted by political pundits, severely underutilised. South Africa in comparison to Botswana is a more industrialised country hence agriculture is highly modernised than in Botswana. In terms of impact investing, the focus is on the use of environmentally friendly equipment. 

South Africa was a victim of political unrest and sanctions which handicapped investments. But the turnaround came in the 90’s when the likes of Ford began seriously reinvesting in the country. These companies, although not Greenfield investments, have the potential to drive impact investing through production of cheaper and environmentally friendly agricultural equipment. 

Hence, Botswana may not be able to attract socially impactful investments in the short term because of the above, in as much as it cannot attract general foreign direct investment compared to more industrialised countries.

Botswana had the second highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world in 2011 at 23.4 percent just behind Swaziland at 26 percent. This result can be attributed to ARVs which prolong life and increase prevalence rates (Timmrek, 2002). When the disease was first diagnosed on a human, the estimated median survival time was only 12 months, but after the introduction of ARVs, this estimate rose to five years. 

Therefore, the duration of a disease affects prevalence positively. Prevalence will most likely remain higher for longer periods if life years increase and this is bound to have an effect on health expenditure. Therefore, this is a potential impact investment vehicle for investors. In social impact investing, one invests in the improvement of outcomes. 

That is, the more you invest, the more likely those charged with the utilisation of the investment will have freedom to employ their objectives. The higher the investment, the more the disease remedying interventions are put in place. That results in more preventative care than curative, which has been proven to be more effective. Therefore, in terms of health care, impact investing is not far-fetched. What remains are those who stand in between the investor and the recipient to devise the vehicles through which we can invest in these positive outcomes.

These areas are non-exhaustible and include investments in clean energy in solar power, fluorescent paint for our roads and electric intra-city train systems. They include investments in the arts which are proving to be a growing industry with huge potential for profit. A notable contributor in this industry is ThabisoBlakMashaba of “THESE HANDS”, a social enterprise with a focus on the arts. 

Particularly notable is his work with the indigenous people of D’kar. These are investment vehicles that show potential to turn philanthropy into a cash cow. In conclusion, with more focus on climate change by governments, social impact investing will surely grow in the coming decade. The classical question will always be why capital does not flow from developed economies to frontier markets like Botswana today? 

When in these infancy years, capital is still cheap, labour is still cheap. Then of course there is the Lucas paradox (which requires another publication of course). This notes that, contrary to the classical school of thought, capital does not flow to poor countries as expected and factor price equalisation is slower than expected.Whatever the case, the future is in impact investing; finding cold hard profit in doing good.

 

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Published in Business

Francistown High Court Judge, Lot Moroka on Wednesday slammed a 31 year old man, Kenalemang Rakgomo with a 10 year sentence for murder after he entered a plea of guilt. 

According to court documents, Rakgomo killed Tsholofelo Kemolathe who was in a relationship with him in 2010. During the course of the relationship, Rakgomo and Kemolatlhe had a misunderstanding owing to Rakgomo’s suspicion that the deceased was in another relationship with a boy called Nombi.  Rakgomo is said to have seen Kemolathe with Nombi naked in a passage which suggested that they had been having sexual intercourse. 

When the two saw the accused they ran in different directions. However, Rakgomo caught up with Kemolathe and took her to Serale pond where he assaulted her before stabbing her with a knife on the neck. 

In the sentence which was back dated from the 1st August 2016 when he was remanded in custody, Kenalemang will serve nine years for the murder of his lover. 

When sentencing him, Moroka found that there were extenuating circumstances in this case and therefore had to exclude capital punishment from the list of available sentencing options. Moroka said that he was also aware of the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence adding that Rakgomo was a first offender.

“The accused was aged 24 years at the time of the commission of the offence, he has a child to care for,” Moroka said. However, he said that the offence cannot escape the inevitable observation that murder visits the highest form of loss to society.  He said that the offence carries a higher degree of both harmfulness and culpability than most offences in the penal statue books. 

“If we look at the level of culpability of the accused person in this case, it is slightly diminished by his sudden anger and jealousy occasioned by seeing his girlfriend naked in the presence of a man she had earlier denied to be in love with,” Moroka said, adding that the absence of pre-meditation also doubles up as mitigating factor over the above role in extenuation. 

He said that the fact that Rakgomo pleaded guilty counts for remorse and shows that a genuine expression of self-motivated determination to change his ways after a once fall from grace ought to be spared a harsh sentence on account of being a threat to society.

Published in Northren Extra
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 13:54

Khama urges farmers to produce quality food

President Ian Khama has urged farmers to continue with their commitment to produce quality food that ends up on our tables and grows our country’s economy.  

Khama was officiating at the Serowe Agricultural Show recently. The President said that a nation’s agricultural wealth is measured through the use of its arable land as well as whether it is able to fully utilise it to produce food that could sustain its population over time. “Your efforts are always fully appreciated,” he said. 

Khama said that his government remains committed to the improvement of the agricultural sector in order to help farmers achieve self-sufficiency in the production of food which is the objective of farmers. Reassuring the farmers that government’s commitment towards agriculture will continue undiminished, he said that there has been an increased investment in the agricultural sector by his government. 

“If anything, there is a clear demonstration of commitment towards agriculture through increased investment in areas such as research and development as seen through institutions such as the Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) as well as other components of veterinary research,” said Khama who noted that identifying and improving breeds to ensure local suitability to local conditions remains a priority. 

He told the show that government has made agriculture one of its key priority areas. He said agriculture has been identified as one of the vital sectors that can contribute towards the comprehensive economic diversity of the country from being a mineral led economy. “In this regard, government has been channelling funds into the sector through programmes such as NAMPAD, LIMID, ISPAAD and the Young Farmers Fund. 

Khama told his audience that, agriculture has benefited from the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) with the aim to position it as one of the catalysts for economic diversification. “Programmes in this regard included among others those that graded roads leading to production areas, electrification of production clusters, construction of service centres in various strategic areas and the establishment of a grey water irrigation scheme,” said Khama.

He said that government efforts aim at complementing the efforts of the farmers to be better placed to achieve their objectives, especially of ensuring self-sufficiency or food security. He noted that, agricultural shows are not only critical for farmers but also give consumers an opportunity to meet with all stakeholders in one place, in the process also affording them opportunities to see first-hand the quality of products in the market. 

“For farmers, it is first and foremost an exposition to showcase their products. It affords you the opportunity to see first-hand some of the prospects available, as well as the best practices that obtain amongst you. It thus accords you the chance to benchmark from the very best, network and synergise with others. These are the simple modalities to development and coming up with better and more viable products,” said Khama.

He added that agricultural shows promote other sectors such as those dealing in transport and logistics, catering and other Small and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) including those in the informal sector. “This show has indeed made its mark and has now become a major annual event that people now plan for,” said Khama. 

Published in Northren Extra
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