Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 18 September 2018 - Botswana Guardian
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 14:18

GU elect new leadership

The fancied Gaborone United (GU) will be electing new leadership this weekend in Gaborone, hoping to push back their recent chaotic lifestyle involving, among other issues, financial issues of unpaid salaries for players, disgruntled executive committee and a FIFA lawsuit.

The Special General Meeting is expected to see the Moyagoleele family turning a new leaf and ushering in a new Executive Committee that will take over the running of the BTC Premiership club. Earlier this week, the GU Elders committee that has been running the club for the past three months unveiled a report of their achievements and challenges.

Among their achievement is the settlement of a highly publicized lawsuit involving their former player Bismarck Appiah.  FIFA had ordered GU to pay their former Ghanaian player an amount in excess of P400 000 after a dispute over unfair dismissal. The Elders Committee was at pains to discuss how they raised the funds to settle the embarrassing lawsuit that saw them being dragged before the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.

“To date, GU have made full payment in respect of the above FIFA Disciplinary Committee orders in two payment instalments. The first instalment in respect of FIFA fines and part payment of Mr Appiah’s claim was made on 24th August, 2018. The second and final payment of Appiah’s claim plus interest accrued was made on 7th September 2018. I would therefore like to declare the Appiah case finalized and closed,” GU Elders Committee president Oarabile Kalaben said.

Addressing members of the press, Kalaben emphasised that the Elders Committee inherited the Appiah financial debacle when they assumed control of the team at a Special General Meeting held in Palapye earlier this year. Kalaben said Appiah initially dragged the team before the Department of Labour for unfair dismissal, citing former GU officials as respondents.

“On 2nd February 2016 Appiah attended the mediation hearing, but none of the respondent’s officials (Executive Committee of GU) including Nicolas Zakhem attended. As a result, on 17th February 2016 , Appiah was given a default award and GU as a respondent was advised to pay the player as the applicant, a total of USD2,134.60 (BWP 23, 715.00) which he claimed was what was owed to him.”

However, Kalaben said GU officials did not honour the decision before the set date of 7th March 2016. Kalaben said GU officials at the time ignored the letter of claim even after the money ballooned to USD39,500 which is the equivalent of BPW 438,888 at the current exchange rate.

 Meanwhile, the GU SGM is expected to address the current financial problem of the team which includes a recent proposal from their former financier Nicolas Zakhem. The Elders Committee explained that they have since met with Zakhem who confirmed to have knowledge of almost all the team’s problems. He then sought to know how the Elders Committee expected him to assist.

The Elders Committee asked Zakhem to come up with a proposal and having received the proposal back in August Kalaben said the Elders Committee decided the proposal contained conditions that required extensive discussions and further clarification. “On 9th August, the Elders Committee acknowledged receipt of the proposal and indicated that some conditions were beyond their mandate but notwithstanding, the Committee indicated its readiness to discuss the proposal at Zakhem’s earliest convenience.”

Kalaben said the Committee later made a counter proposal to Zakhem proposal. To date both the letter of acknowledgement and the counter proposal have not been responded to by Zakhem. The Elders Committee has since proposed a meeting with Zakhem with the BFA presiding over it in accordance with Clause addresses settlement of disputes between clubs, players, officials and members under the BFA constitution.Zakhem has to date refused to attend such a meeting.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 14:12

Cyclists meet at Gaborone CBD

The 2018 edition of the annual Mascom Cycle Challenge is scheduled to take place this coming Sunday at the Gaborone CBD Complex.The organizers of the cycling challenge, Tsela Riders Chairman, Charles Vaughan said they want to bring out an exciting event on the day.

Vaughan told BG Sport this week that there has been less road races this year due to lack of sponsors, “We are trying to push cycling awareness and hence the reason that the race starts and finishes in town at the CBD complex,” he said.

The Tsela Riders Chairman said that many are scared of cycling because they feel it is a dangerous sport. He noted that even the bad state of some roads made it hard to convince potential cyclists to sign up. “We need to do all that we can to ensure that there are enough marshals on the day.  We cannot afford to make anybody unhappy because even the sponsors need to be impressed for them to continue this partnership,” he said.

Vaughan said they expect about 200 cyclists to participate at the event that normally attracts international cyclists. Meanwhile, the main sponsor of the event mobile phone service providers Mascom has injected a whopping P250 000 towards the event.
Mascom has remained a committed sponsor of the cycle challenge for the past four years.

Vaughan said it was only through the efforts of Mascom that the event has managed to grow from strength to strength. Among cyclists that will participate at the event is the defending champion, Abeng Malete of Botswana. Malete promises to do anything in his power to retain his crown.Despite being humiliated by South African competitors recently at the Jwaneng cycle challenge, Malete said his body is ready for the weekend challenge.

Malete is a top local cyclist not intimidated by competition, “The SA guys are my friends and I look forward to facing them again on Sunday. They help me remain focused and work more on my speed,”  He recorded a time of 2:43:00 last year and wants to aim for 2:30:00 this year.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 14:04

Strikr joins the sports gear race

There is a new player in the local sports apparel market, and the local brewed brand is already making waves having launched technical sponsorships for two Division One league football teams. The STRIKR sports brand under Angels enterprises is set to become popular among local sports teams and sport codes.

Speaking during a press conference where the sponsorship announcement for Tourism FC and Mmopane Sporting Club were made in Gaborone, Angels Enterprises General Manager Saad Mohuddin said the apparel company has an illustrious track record in Botswana. “Our biggest client is government as we have supplied different ministries. We have even been supplying sports organisations like Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC)and the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) for more than 10 years.

We have never put a label on our sportswear because we did not feel the need to do that because orders are still coming and the quality is still meeting the standards,” Mohuddin said. “Recently I have decided to create a new brand called STRIKR, it is registered with CIPA and everything is done properly. We plan to make STRIKR an all sports brand but we have started with football because it is the most popular sport and the best way to get the name out there.”

Addressing members of the press, Mohuddin said they have since requested the Botswana Football Association officials to provide team profiles for purposes of possible sponsorship deals. “We interviewed the clubs and looking at our budget we decided to go for two teams. We will continue to roll out sponsorship as to when we can manage. Now we are concentrating on those clubs that are   within our region.

It is easier to start with somebody close to you than all over the country.”Mohuddin said they chose two Division One teams being Tourism FC and Mmopane Sporting club. “We had a chat with them and looked at the management style and the structure of how the clubs were run. We thought that they best reflected our values because they spend their own personal time and money and this shows that they are very dedicated.” Mohuddin said sponsorship is the best way to take their brand name to the people.

“At the same time, we are giving back to the community. Imagine how difficult it is for smaller teams to acquire playing kits and win games. We wanted to start in the lower division and build our way up because it is the smaller guys who need more help.”
According to Mohuddin, big league teams need help too but it is the teams based in rural areas that have much more challenges and need help to get boys and girls out of unbecoming activities.

“Once you play for a team, your ego and other distraction go away. I play cricket for the national team so I know this. Initially we started with football but we have had a lot of requests for volleyball, softball and netball. I am looking at another two or three clubs in the next few months.”

Mohuddin explained that the value of the sponsorship is around P15 000 for one team, that includes home and away kit, track suits and T shirts. He further highlighted that the sponsorship can be extended for another two or three-year period.
“This is the first time we sponsor sports teams and we want to see how it goes.”

Speaking during the same occasion, the chairman of Tourism FC, Alfred Moarabi said the sponsorship will be very helpful as lower division teams are struggling in terms of playing kit, trainers, soccer boots and transport.  “These are some of the difficulties we face. Since we have secured a kit we are relieved, we will focus on transport, food, trainers. Tourism FC competes in the South East Division one league”.

For his part, the chairman of Mmopane Sporting club said coming into the Strikr family with Angel Enterprises will give his team the leverage they require. “This is because they are structured in a way that they will give us visibility. We will provide them with pictures highlighting moments of our games so that they advertise such material. This will jump start the morale of both players and supporters because this will be like rebranding the club.”

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 13:58

Bank Gaborone picks Capricorn group

Bank Gaborone has been a star performer in Capricorn Group this year, contributing 6 percent to the group’s profit after tax, Group’s Managing Director Thinus Prinsloo has revealed.Speaking during the official opening of Bank Gaborone head office, Prinsloo indicated that Bank Gaborone posted very solid results for the period ending 30 June 2018 and contributed 6 percent compared to a 4 percent contribution in 2017. 

He revealed that in a few months period, Bank Gaborone has expanded its footprint in Botswana with the opening of the Kasane branch and more expansions planned in the next year. “During the past financial year, our Group increased its shareholding in Capricorn Investment Holdings Botswana, which is the holding company of Bank Gaborone, with 15.6 percent to 84.3 percent.

We therefore have vested interest in the success and future growth of Bank Gaborone.  With the backing and support of Capricorn Group, the Bank has been able to venture into bigger opportunities and tap into the Group’s expertise and specialized resources,” Prinsloo stated.

Prinsloo pointed out that Capricorn Group is a diversified financial services group listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange with subsidiaries in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa.  The group’s operations are primarily focused on banking, wealth and asset management insurance, as well as microfinance, he said adding that from its head office in Windhoek, Capricorn Group provides strategic guidance, oversight and support to its subsidiaries including Bank Gaborone.

According to Prinsloo in June this year the group celebrated 5 years on the Namibian Stock Exchange and the value that they created for their shareholders and other stakeholders as a result of the listing. Over this period, he said they recorded a 96.9 percent growth in their share price, a compounded annual growth rate in profit after tax of 13.6 percent, N$1.3 billion paid out in dividends and a 130 percent total return per share since the listing in 2013.

“In September 2017, we launched the refreshed brand of Bank Gaborone with a differentiated brand promise of being Connectors of Positive Change.  With the understanding that change should come from the inside, we also launched The Capricorn Way in 2017.
“The Capricorn Way is shaping a new culture for the Bank and the whole Group that encourages exceptional performance and highlights the importance of balancing economic success with social responsibility and environmental accountability.

The Capricorn Way sets out our shared beliefs, values, norms and behaviors and contributes to the culture change and sense of unity in the Group.  Our employees are encouraged to keep the leadership, and each other, accountable for living The Capricorn Way,” he said

Published in Business

Customer centric desires are evading First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), despite the ballooning of the bank’s market share, as indicated by the bank’s rising customer figures.Steve Bogatsu, FNBB Chief Executive Officer last week revealed that inefficiency is almost crippling the bank’s operations.

“And these are things that worry us, we want to remain a customer-centric organisation,” said Bogatsu during the bank’s audited consolidated summarised financial results and dividend announcement. With over 500 thousand customers, FNBB has already initiated an inward focus plan, opposed to aggressively lure more customers, as a tool to increase customer satisfaction. “We are not satisfied with the service that we are giving to customers we have,” he added.  

Bogatsu further said the bank is refining its operating model and centralizing some of the resources to create centers of excellence within the bank. In addition, FNBB’s inward focus is also propelled by the heightening competition within the financial service sector, propelled by fin techs.“The banking cake is not getting big but competition has increased. We need to find other revenue lines for our shareholders.

“We are doing groundwork to be able to open other revenue lines and insurance is one of them,” said Bogatsu.On the other hand, FNBB has been working hard to reverse negative impairments trend.“There has been a lot of focus on collection, we have revamped the processes in our collection,” said Bogatsu who reckons the bank has more work on inefficiencies. Digitalisation is also expected to drive the bank’s efficiency endevours, according to Bogatsu, highlighting plans to make every branch smaller in size with bigger areas for self service with WiFi.

As part of digital spurred efficiency, the bank has also introduced online forex, allowing customers to make foreign payments without submitting drafts at the bank. On year on year growth, the company saw its branch use grow by one percent, automated teller machine nine percent; mobile banking sixteen percent, online banking nine percent and point of sale transaction grow by twenty percent.

Meanwhile the bank’s forecast in the remaining months before year end is an anticipated growth in targeted financing for some sectors of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing tourism, which will be supported by credit guarantees from development finance institutions.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 13:46

Agriculture still Africa’s hope

Africa’s sustainable development goals won’t be achieved if the continent does not do well in agriculture as the market growth depends on it. This was recently revealed at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2018, held in Kigali under the theme, ‘Lead, measure, grow’.

Co-founder and Trustee of African Leadership Academy, Fred Swaniker said that the continent only has a short period of time to create jobs for its fast growing population. “Africa has a short time to create jobs for its fast growing population. Governments on the continent must give commitment in terms of investments and provide mentorship for youth to scale up Agriculture,” he said.

It was also noted at the forum that 70 percent of people involved in Agriculture in Africa are small holder farmers and each year there is post harvest loss of four billion. President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame advised that strong links among policy makers and investors in Africa are required for a productive African Agriculture. He added that in order to meet the sustainable goals, there should be revitalisation of Agriculture.

“We have to do a better job at mobilising citizen farmers and treating them as clients as well as make Agriculture attractive to the youth,” he said.Employment trends in Africa show similar problem as in the whole world. Thus, the continent’s labour force growth rate is three percent per annum while 60 percent of working youth equates to a per capital income of $3.10. On the other hand, Africa’s food security and a food import bill reaches $25 billion annually.

In spite of this, researchers highlight that the continent has significantly failed to increase its average yields per hectare when compared to Asian counterparts. Africa’s capacity to avoid food crisis is therefore labelled to be in hesitation. Experts foresee danger in Africa if nothing is done to increase Agricultural output.

CEO of SACAU, Ishmael Sunga also noted that African countries should put hard work on soil in order to have a better produce. “Africa has to do better in soil management and improve on soil fertility to close the huge yield gap,” he said. Africa has an average yield of 3MT per hectare while Asia has an average yield of 3.9 MT per hectare.

Africa also produces over 54 percent of the world’s cassava with an average yield of 10MT per hectare whereas Asia has an average of 22 MT per hectare. This is according to data from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Trade is seen as a driver of growth for African Agriculture, and it was highlighted that the food market will remain the biggest producer in the world if Africa does well.

Published in Business

The mining sector is set to propel growth of the economy out of the woods, Barclays Bank of Botswana’s chief has said.“Our economy appears to be on track for a rebound, powered by the recovery in the mining sector,” said Reinette van der Merwe. She said the bank expects recovery in the mining sector to drive GDP growth to 4.6 percent, up from 2.4 percent in 2017.

Already statistic indicates that year on year, GDP expanded by 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018 driven by strong diamond production and value addition.Though the country has slowly enjoyed a diversified GDP over the years, the non-mining year on year GDP slowed in the first quarter to 4.2 percent from 5.7 percent in the previous year, amid the continued calls by government to diversify the economy.

Barclays however warns that the outlook remains vulnerable to global economic shocks, the latest being recession the country’s major trading partner is facing. “The slow growth in South Africa also poses a downside risk to the positive outlook,” van der Merwe said, also highlighting that the national accounts show weak second quarter GDP of minus 0.7 and first quarter data was revised down to minus 2.6.

In addition, the Barclays chief’s optimism is driven by the low inflation and strong economic prospects.“We believe that the MPC will maintain the bank rate at its prevailing stance of five percent, well into 2019.”The bank’s positive instinct on the mining sector driving economic growth is also shared by the country’s apex mining body. Early this year, Charles Siwawa, Botswana Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer told Botswana Guardian that the industry will make an exciting upturn.

“The general picture is not very good at the moment, but it can be better. We currently have 50 percent of the mines on care and maintenance,” said Siwawa, pointing out that operating mines have been trimmed from 14 in the year 2014 to seven currently. The fall of mines in the country has been attributed to international drop in commodity prices for both base metals and diamonds that swept across the globe over the three years, forcing companies to put mines under care and maintenance.

Though Botswana is considered the best diamond address in the world, Siwawa sees an equal opportunity for other minerals to twinkle too. His hunch is fueled by the upward spiraling of prices for most mining commodities, already igniting mining of the country’s black diamond –coal.Minergy the country’s latest coal mining company was granted a mining licence last months and has already made indications that mining at their project in Kweneng District will start next January.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 13:34

BBS upbeat on commercial banking license

After successfully listing in the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL), the directors of the Botswana Building Society remain optimistic to be granted a commercial banking licence by the Bank of Botswana.

BBS board Chairman,Taolelo Mosetlhi said they are targeting the second half of 2019 to start operating as a commercial bank. “We are hopeful that our application to the Bank of Botswana for a banking licence will be successful,” said Mosetlhi.  BBS was incorporated as a company (BBS Limited) in April and was the first to list on BSE’s over the counter platform called Serala last week. This enables the company to trade their shares at any given time.

Commenting on BBS financial results for the year ended March 2018, Mosetlhi said until they are issued with a commercial banking licence by the Bank of Botswana, it will continue to conduct the business of a building society. Currently, ordinary shares of existing holders of relevant accounts such as the paid up, indefinite period and Subscription are now listed on Serala.

BBS recorded an increase in profit to P49.9 million compared to P47.8 million in 2017. “It increased by four percent compared to the prior year which affirms the resilience of our business. However, we can only build on this success if we can transform BBS quickly into a commercial bank,” said Mosetlhi.The board recommended lower dividend of P57, 8 million to its shareholders this year compared to P59. 3 million last year.

The chairman indicated that the decline is mainly due to the reduction of the interest rate by 50 basis points by the Bank of Botswana in October 2017.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 13:28

DIS hacked

Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) has had its system hacked by unknown trespassers.Botswana Guardian is in possession of a leaked confidential document detailing names of security agents, their identity cards, last and first names, bank names, bank accounts, pay period, their gross income and total deductions from their salaries.

 It is not yet known if the perpetrator(s) is/are within the system or is an intruder who hacked the system to jeopardise the country’s national security. There are fears that this sensitive information could fall to the wrong hands locally or internationally and further compromise the security of the country.

The DIS Act protects the identity of agents and other operations of the agency. In the long list which is provided in a spreadsheet format, some names of media practitioners (former and current) and a known politician from within the opposition ranks are among those who are on the DIS payroll.

The list is arranged in hierarchy with payment of high ranking beginning first and followed by the lower ranks and support staff. The payments reflected on the document were for the month of July this year. The opposition activist and the radio presenter each garner a Gross Income of close to P24 thousand while a former journalist’s salary stands at P27 thousand, this is according to the released information.

The list was sent to Botswana Guardian Facebook page inbox by a Facebook user. Botswana Guardian could not authenticate whether the names contained on the list belong to DIS spooks or not.  Recently there has been media reports of possible infiltration of the DIS causing more tension and mistrust among the agents.

Allegations have been rife that some of the agents who for years have been close to former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi have not been happy with the way he was fired by President Mokgweetsi Masisi early this year. The decision has been perceived as an attack on the previous administration of Ian Khama.

Kgosi is a known close ally of Khama and the latter was recently left with an egg on the face when government declined to hire Kgosi as his Private Secretary. Khama has since filed a notice for government to show cause why he cannot employ Kgosi as his private secretary.

Brigadier Peter Magosi, DIS Director General who was in Maun attending Botswana Tourism Organisation’s Researchers’ Consultative meeting with President Mokgweetsi Masisi told this publication late Wednesday night that he is not aware if their system has been hacked. He said he would have to look into the matter first to see what could have happened before discussing it in details. 

“I have been busy with back to back meetings for the entire day. In the past people have been messing with our system but I can assure you and the nation that we will get to the bottom of things. Whoever is involved in this will face the music I can assure you,” said Brigadier Magosi in a telephone interview. He said such acts that compromise national security would not be tolerated under his watch.

When he assumed office Brigadier Magosi promised to turn the notorious spy agency into a better, trustworthy and friendly security organ. He said the agency wants to play its role in a manner that will change this organisation and make it what it is intended to be.
Since its inception DIS has been marred by controversy with opposition parties and other pressure groups calling for the overhaul of the DIS Act.

Oversight committees of the DIS have also failed to execute their mandate and blamed the DIS leadership for not being cooperative. Opposition Members of Parliament have resigned from Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security leaving only Botswana Democratic Party MPs in the committee. The Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security is tasked with examining the expenditure, administration and policies of the DIS.

Published in News
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 12:32

Meet Botswana’s highest paid civil servant

Deputy Permanent Secretary to the President in Office of the President, Elias Magosi is the highest paid public servant, Botswana Guardian can reveal.Magosi, a former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Communications joined OP in April this year after he was recruited from Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat where he served as Director, Human Resources and Administration.

He was appointed a few days after President Mokgweetsi Masisi ascended to the presidency on April 1st 2018.According to a letter of appointment penned by Permanent Secretary to the President Cater Morupisi and seen by Botswana Guardian, Masisi used his powers in terms of Section 112 of the Constitution to appoint Magosi.

“You will earn a salary at the rate of P1, 392, 564.00 per annum (P116, 047 per month). This salary, which is above the government salary structure, is meant to protect your benefits from your previous employer, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC),” says the letter. With that hefty salary Magosi earns more than his boss Carter Morupisi and also earns more than President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Not only that; Magosi will also be “entitled to benefit from any government salary revisions. You will also earn housing allowance at 2 percent of basic salary and entertainment allowance in the sum of P14, 950.10 per annum and any other applicable allowances,” said Morupisi in the letter, which was copied to Director of Public Service Management, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Accountant General and Auditor General.

According to Morupisi the appointment is offered on contract terms for a period of 5 years with effect from date of assumption of duty. “You will be required to enter into a Performance Contract in accordance with Section 19 (4) of the Public Service Act within three (3) months or 90 days of commencement of employment.

“The government may terminate this contract in accordance with Section 26 (2) of the Public Service Act by giving you three calendar months’ notice or paying you three (3) months’ salary in lieu of such notice. On the other hand, you may also terminate this contract by giving and serving three (3) calendar months or paying government one (1) months’ salary in lieu of notice,” said PSP.

According to the letter, upon satisfactory completion of this contract, Magosi will be paid gratuity at the rate of thirty (30) percent of the total amount of the salary earned for the duration of the contract. He is expected to be governed by the Public Service Act, General Orders, and Rules and Regulations in force from time to time during the period of his employment.

PSP Morupisi confirmed the appointment and salary of Magosi in an interview with this publication. Morupisi has defended this decision indicating that this is the “general principle” because Magosi was being recruited from SADC Secretariat.  “When you recruit you have certain benefits that you will have to consider. We had to go overboard because generally salaries at SADC Secretariat are high.

“We had to consider retaining of personal rights. So in the negotiations you lose some and gain some,” said Morupisi who revealed that Magosi was recruited for a purpose but would not get into details. He said the arrangement is not in any way in breach of the Public Service Act which governs public servants. “This is nothing new because I have done the same with other public officers that we have recruited back into the public service,” he added.

Before joining Communications Ministry as PS, Magosi served under the same portfolio at the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism headed by Tshekedi Khama. At the ministry Magosi had a fallout with Khama over the running of the ministry and its parastatal Botswana Tourism Organisation. In December 2016, Magosi made it to the list of appointments and transfers of senior public officers which was announced by Morupisi.

Magosi accepted the offer and then resigned within a month. The SADC Directorate of Human Resources and Administration which Magosi was heading was established following the restructuring of SADC in February 2008, with emphasis placed on the need to improve service delivery within the SADC Secretariat.

Published in News
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