Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 05 March 2019 - Botswana Guardian

When days are dark, friends are few. And for former President, Ian Khama, the days are dark, perhaps very dark. Khama’s recent Saul-to-Paul transition on the media has left even Paul himself utterly shocked. It is a U-turn like no other. In the ‘good old days,’ Khama had the luxury of choice when it came to media coverage. So spoilt for choice, he had even made it a habit to throw punches at private media at every opportune moment.

For Khama, the private media was an embodiment of evil. It was a cancer that needed the strongest possible chemo to be destroyed. Besides the carelessly selected adjectives and expletives he used to describe the local media, he had the pleasure to marvel at their arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, harassments and sometimes, explicit threats to kill. As if that was not enough, he emptied their pockets by banning all government and government-funded entities to advertise from them. We all watched helplessly as the looting and the shooting continued unabated.

Then, the private media mattered not; after all, he had the entire Mass-Media Complex at his disposal. The state media was all about him, may it be radio, print or television. The only time they stopped covering him, was when he was sleeping. But the moment he woke up, the propaganda reel would run ceaselessly until he again retired to bed. He also had a profound taste for western media, of which as and when it served their strategic interests, they would apportion him a space for his vitriol against Robert Mugabe.

But that was then, now it is gone. The state media is gone, and so is his beloved British media. But the reel is still running, though for someone else. Like an oasis, now Khama stands alone in a sea of the Kgalagadi sand. Power has deserted him and so are the privileges and accruements that accompany it. The political monsoons of the Kgalagadi are battering him to withering proportions. But, just when he was about to resign his last breath to the political wolves of the desert, the local media threw him a lifeline. The very media he publicly castigated as ‘unpatriotic’ have come to save him from political oblivion.

Instead of being harsh and vengeful, the local media has given Khama refuge. And by the look of things, it looks like his last place of refuge. Unlike him, they have given him a platform to rant and vent his usual trivialities out. He may not have audience, but at least he has a voice. We may disagree with his altered and warped outlook of life, but at least he has a platform to throw his childish tantrums. And that should serve as a lesson to him. That is, in a normal functioning democracy, people must have an opportunity to air their views, regardless of the shape and form they come in.

And freedom of speech and expression is not, as some people may claim, a western concept, for Batswana, it is a normative ethic (Setho). Khama should know that the media is also an important accountability mechanism. The relationship between media and politician would continue to be a love/hate relationship. But both need each other, the one to provide the information, the other to communicate it. Politicians like to present their successes and their opinions, to use the media to gain public recognition and enlarge their authority; the media’s role is to question these critically. The way I see it, Khama owes the media an apology. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in News

Together with its parent company Cupric Canyon, Khoemacau Copper Mine signed a loan facility of $565 million (P5, 9 billion) from Red Kite Mine Finance and Royal Gold AG to commence its copper and silver mining operations in the Northwest.

The funding will be used for construction of the company’s 3.6 million tonne per annum starter project at Khoemacau processing ore.  The direct construction of the Starter Project is $397 million over a two year construction time-line. First Copper Concentrate production is expected in the first half of 2021 with the initial annual production averaging 62000 tonnes copper and 1.9 million ounces of silver.

Cupric Canon Chief Executive, Johan Ferreira said securing the project funding package by partnering with two of the industry’s leading global mine finance providers allows the company to move forward energetically with all project development activities.
“This step marks the completion of a remarkable evolution of the company from discovery of zone 5 in 2012 to full construction of a high quality copper asset in 2019.

Khoemacau mining and exploration licenses cover an area of 4, 000 square kilometres in the Kalahari copper belt, which expanded after the acquisition of Boseto Mine in 2015. The company has been given a 20-year Mining License with 185 million tonnes of copper resources available for mining.

He said being able to commence the development of a large scale fully mechanized mine and deliver high quality jobs and sustainable development in the Kalahari copper belt reflects not only the quality of the mining environment in Botswana but also the strong support of government towards foreign investment and new mine development.

Khoemacau has been developing its coal mining project in Northwest Botswana over the past six years and has currently completed permitting and land access agreement; secured the required power and water; undertaken advanced engineering, procurement and mobilization such that it is ready for full construction release of the Starter Project, pending closing of the project funding package.  The company has also signed Memorandum of Agreement with Botswana Power Corporation to source 30 megawatt power from the BPC grid. Upon production the mine is expected to create employment to 900 people.

The copper mining industry in Botswana suffered a setback when key base metal producer, BCL Mine closed in 2016. This followed the closure of Boseto Copper Mine which was operated by Discovery Metals.

Published in Business

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Matambo said the ministry is in the process of drafting the credit information bill to improve access to credit by small businesses.

Presenting the budget for the Ministry to legislators on Tuesday, Matambo said as part of implementing the national financial inclusion roadmap and strategy that runs from 2015 to 2021, the ministry is in the process of drafting the bill. “The bill will seek to improve both positive and negative financial information which will improve access to credit which is extended to small businesses and citizens,” said Matambo.

He said currently, Botswana Savings Bank (BSB), which focuses on developing low cost accessible and flexible savings products for the low-income earners currently excluded from the formal banking sector, is driving the financial inclusion mandate.  The bank is expected to open two more branches in Hukuntsi and Kanye this year. Matambo proposed the budget of P1. 5 billion for his ministry out of which the recurrent budget amounts to P 950 million (64.8%) while development budget amounts to P515 million (35.2%).
The Botswana financial inclusion roadmap 2015 to 2021 objective is to help improve citizens’ welfare and support national objectives.

The roadmap is based on the diagnostic findings contained in making access possible.  According to the research findings by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development published in 2015, formal access to finance stands at 68 percent. With most segments having broad access to financial services, 46 percent of adults use more than one product category including savings, credit, insurance and payments.  “However, access is still a challenge in certain segments and 24 percent are completely excluded, mainly in the lower income, rural and remote populations.” Among the key findings pointed as the barriers to financial inclusion in Botswana, are low income and lack of understanding of financial products.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 15:34

BDC pays attention to youth entrepreneurs

Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) continues with its quest to develop entrepreneurs in the country and their latest collaboration with African Youth Entrepreneurs Summit (AYES) is a case in point.

According to a statement, the government-owned investment arm together with AYES, recently joined hands to host a one-day engagement which brought together young entrepreneurs from Africa to enable them to share notes on business acumen as well as to foster partnerships.

This year the summit (AYES) was held at Travel Lodge last Thursday under the theme; “Disruptive Innovation in Today’s Versatile Business Jungle” to celebrate and develop young sharp minds that are driving African countries to economic diversity. The summit which is in its second year following its launch in 2018, is an annual event that intends to have a combined voice and representation to connect youth owned business ideas and reinforce the entrepreneurial desires of young African entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, BDC Head of Corporate Affairs and Strategy, Boitshwarelo Lebang addressed multitudes of youth entrepreneurs under the topic ‘The Future of Global Finance: Where trends are leading to in the Financial Services Sector.’ Lebang told attendants that ‘inclusion through the use of technology’ will define the future of the industry.  “FinTech is the future, with the likes of Crowdfunding, B2B (Business to Business) funding etc,” she said.  Furthermore, she stated that sectors that ‘investors are hungry for’ include technology, health care, energy and retail. 

Still at the same gathering, BDC’s Investment Principal, Modise Mokone shared information relating to the group’s funding model as well as scalability which is critical for competing at a global level. BDC, which invests in virtually every sector, except large scale mining, said their association with AYES, is critical as it allows the group to support its mandate of developing commercial and industrial sectors in the country.

The established partnership with BDC and AYES will come in handy since it will be used to support the former’s Corporate Social Investment project which is aimed at supporting entrepreneurs with mentoring and funding based on their pitched business ideas.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 15:31

StanChart forecast strong growth

Standard Chartered Group anticipates to deliver 10 percent return on tangible equity and generate significant surplus capital by 2021, thus improving the bank business operations in Africa, Asia and Middle East.

The group announced that the refreshed priorities focus on investing to accelerate growth in the group’s differentiated network and affluent client businesses, optimizing performance in lower-returning markets and building on existing digital credentials to innovate.

“These actions will position standard Chartered as the leading bank for clients based or doing business in Asia, Africa and Middle East,”  In its year-end December 2018 results, the group recorded six percent increase in profit before tax to $2,5 billion, while the operating income increased by five percent $15 billion.

Commenting on the results, Standard Chartered Group CEO, Bill Winters said they have made tremendous progress securing the foundations since 2015. “Our refreshed priorities will help realize the true value of the franchise. We will measure this not only in monetary terms with double digit equity returns and significant shareholder distributions targeted by 2021,” said Winters, adding that they are determined to drive commerce and help their clients achieve prosperity.

Through the new priorities, Winters said they intend to distribute to shareholders, surplus capital that is not deployed to fund additional growth. The company also targets income compound growth rate at five to seven percent. “We are cautiously optimistic on the global macroeconomic environment but the range of possible outcomes is wider than it has been in a long time.”

Published in Business
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 15:28

Samsung unfolds the new Galaxy Fold

Samsung has unveiled a new Galaxy Fold ready to be in shops April 26, 2019. This will be the first of its kind to include a smart phone, tablet and a camera.

It comes with a 4.6 inches display on the front and 7.3 inches display when unfolded.  This device is put together by a sophisticated hinge system that uses multiple gears to allow for opening and closing more than a thousand times.  The most fascinating part is an element of App continuity that gives customers an instant display on the big screen when you switch from the smart phone display to a tablet display. 

And once unfolded, you can play around with 3 App multi-tasking displays that allow you to run 3 different Apps at the same time.  It runs on OS Android Pie, 4,380mAH dual battery, using octa-core processor, 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, making it the most powerful smart phone. It comes with 16-megapixel primary camera, 12-megapixel secondary camera and 10-megapixel front selfies camera. Galaxy Fold is boosted with 4,380mAH of battery power and a price tag of $1,980 that will be around P20 797 in our local currency.

With this new cutting edge technology, Samsung hopes to intensify smart phone competition, attract consumers and push for revenue growth.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 15:18

Financial Stability Council launched

The country’s Financial Stability Council is now in operation, paving way for the consolidation of all information within the financial sector which will be handy when it comes to the regulation of the sector.

The Council was officially launched this Tuesday after months of consultations between senior officials of the finance and economic development ministry, Bank of Botswana and Non-Bank financial Institutions Regulatory Authority, Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA). Moses Pelaelo BoB Governor is thrilled that the Council, which its secretariat will be housed at the central bank is now up and running.

He made it clear, the Council is not taking any role which is being played by Financial Intelligence Agency, NBFIRA, finance ministry or the central bank itself. “It is acknowledged that the respective institutions have unique statutory mandates, objectives, oversight frameworks and operational spheres, albeit mostly related. In this regard, the Financial Stability Council is not established to usurp or dilute the role of the respective institutions, which is neither feasible nor desirable. Rather it is to share information and where, desirable, facilitate collective and coordinated approach to financial sector monitoring frameworks and crisis resolution,” said Pelaelo during the launch of the Council this week.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, FIA Director, Dr Abraham Sethibe, said the Council will further complement their role, which among others ensures financial transactions do not undermine the country’s fiunancial system. He stated FIA is more than happy that they will now be in a position to share more information with other regulators, a development which will further strengthen the country’s financial system at large. NBFIRA Chief Executive Officer, Oaitse Ramasedi , whose regulatory roles  among others ensures he manages companies whose assets are over P120 billion, stated that, it has over the years become clear that they cannot manage their respective role alone ‘without collaborations’. The Council has just provided a perfect opportunity for the non-bank financial institutions’ regulatory body to cast wide open its roles for the benefit of the entire financial system.

In the coming months, the Council will be in a position to publish the Financial Stability Report, an anchor publication, providing accountability in the areas of assessment of financial stability risks and mitigation measures.  “Second is agreement on a Macro prudential Policy Framework that is relevant for Botswana, in terms of risk mitigation, as well as recognising the gaps in financial inclusion and development,” said the BoB Governor in a prepared speech.

Pelaelo also noted that there is a specific need to address the challenges arising from implementation of the Anti-Money laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism protocols and requirements. “Fourth and related, thereto, is the requirement to decisively address the incipient misconduct and governance challenges in the financial sector, deriving from greed and/or misunderstanding or incompetence with respect to fiduciary responsibilities, as well as opportunistic crime and fraud.

There is need for a country to have a deposit protection scheme which will guarantee access to deposits up to a specified threshold. “Lastly, cooperation and collaboration among the Council members would be critical in the timely update and renewal of legislation and policies to retain and improve effectiveness of supervision, monitoring and guidance for the financial sector,” added Pelaelo.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 15:14

Jagdish overstays at BPL

The President of Township Rollers Club Jagdish Shah, who doubles as Chairman of Botswana Premier League (BPL) board of governors is still at the helm of BPL top seat, past his announced three -month temporary term.

Shah was appointed as BPL interim chairman in March 2018 following the resignation of former Chairman, Rapula Okaile. At the time of his appointment, the BPL leadership had announced that Shah will be leading the BPL board for only three months. It was reported during his appointment that the BPL board would after three months go for elections. A year later, Shah is still holding tight to the chairman position and no communication from BPL has been made to this end.

Shah’s appointment as chairman was marred with controversy with the BPL heavily criticized and accused of deliberately bending the rules to accommodate Shah. The BPL board of governors is made up of chairmen from the 16 BPL clubs. The appointment of Shah came as a surprise to some; it was not common that BPL picks a club president to be the board chairman. Some had expected that the board chairman would be picked from the 16 official representing teams as it had been practice in the past.

It was even questioned during the unveiling of Shah why BPL appeared to be rushing to replace Okaile and if there were any pressing issues that needed the immediate attention of a BPL chairman. Some even argued that not much could be done in a short period of three months and advised that perhaps it was wise that BPL brings someone who would be long term to avoid interruption to their decision –making processes.

However, the BPL Vice Chairperson, Solomon Mantswe defended the move saying that Shah brought with him smart experience in football management, a pill that BPL was said to badly need.  At the top of the list, Shah was assigned to assist in bringing financial stability at BPL. Being a local business tycoon, Shah has without doubt been leading a successful campaign at Rollers as the team’s main sponsor.

“Yes he was appointed on an interim basis when Okaile resigned from the board around 15th February 2018 and the board has not decided yet on whether they would appoint a new chairperson or appoint Shah on a long term basis,” BPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thabo Ntshinogang said in an interview.

Ntshinogang went on to note that Shah is a volunteer just like any other club chairman and not in any way contracted to BPL. The BPL board, he said, appoints the chairman, Deputy Chairman and Treasurer on a two -year term.

Published in Sports

The Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) requirement that treasurers at National Sports Association (NSAs) should be accredited at Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) has proved rather difficult to meet for some NSAs. The issue proved to be a nagging headache once again during the recently held Botswana Bowling Association (BBA) electoral AGM held in Gaborone.

The man who has been treasurer at BBA for more than 30 years Mervyn Mitchell did not want to be re-elected but instead advised that BBA find a candidate that matches BNSC’s required qualifications. “Perhaps you should go for a Motswana and someone who is BICA accredited like BNSC has instructed,” Mitchell advised. Mitchell is British and felt that it was only right that they follow the expectations of BNSC. However, it soon turned out that BBA is made of a small group, with that, there was no ‘qualified’ candidate for the position. The BBA president Kitso Robert intervened and said they were still waiting for BNSC to explain to them what should be done if there is no qualified person in their midst. It was then resolved that Mitchell be retained.

According to a document titled circular No 35 of 2017 dated the 3rd October 2017, BNSC reminded Sport Associations that by the 31st of December 2017, BICA registered members should occupy positions of treasurer. The document further suggests that BNSC threatened that should affiliates fail to comply, they will suffer consequences.

BNSC explained through the same document that the decision was taken to improve governance and financial management within NSAs. Meanwhile, a closer look at what is actually on the ground currently suggests that NSAs are suffocating. While some NSA’s claim that they have satisfied the needs of BNSC, some are wondering if they will manage to keep up with the pace.

Golf President, Enoch Mushango believes the requirement of a qualified accountant is irrelevant and not really necessary. Mushango noted that BNSC is the one guarding the bulk of the grant and whatever money released from their coffers is usually through requests made by sport codes. “Honestly speaking that was not necessary, BNSC was emotional when taking this decision, they are addressing the symptoms and not the root cause, we do not need to move mountains looking for accountants, what are we auditing that BNSC has paid directly,” Mushango questioned.

The outspoken Golf President went on to throw shade at BNSC, accusing BNSC of not having qualified accountants in their office but expecting them to meet their requests. He added that BNSC should have monitoring mechanisms, saying a BICA accredited treasurer is just a bonus to the team.Tshepo Bathai, President of Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) said that they have met the BNSC requirements, however it was not easy to find the preferred candidate.

They had to look beyond BOKA and it was not easy to find a BICA accredited individual who will be willing to volunteer their services. His biggest worry is that their current treasurer will not be at BOKA till the end of time, meaning another backbreaking headhunt in the near future.

Bathai, however, noted that he understands where BNSC was coming from given allegations of funds misappropriations that has of recent hit sport codes. BNSC could not respond to an inquiry from BG Sport. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Falcon Sedimo was said to be held up in meetings all day this past Tuesday. His mobile phone was also off the whole of Tuesday and Wednesday morning.  

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 14:53

The ruckus continues at BOTESSA

The man who contested for Botswana Tertiary Schools Sport Association (BOTESSA) presidential seat Jomo Moalosi, is not going down without a fight. He has appealed the BOTESSA elections committee’s decision that saw him pushed out of the 2019 elections race.

Moalosi, together with Keorapetse Setlhare had shown interest in the presidential elections that were scheduled for the 22nd of February 2019. The nomination period for the elections closed on the 8th of February and the elections committee embarked on a verification process of the two candidates. According to a document sent to BOTESSA member affiliates dated the 11th of February, the elections committee vetted out Moalosi while Setlhare was endorsed.

“Only one candidate, Setlhare, met the requirement outlined in article 10.2 of the constitution and the elections guidelines. If at the close of nominations there is only one candidate validly nominated, the committee shall declare publicly the candidate to be elected. Mr Setlhare has been validly nominated and duly elected president of BOTESSA,” reads part of the document.Reacting to the matter, the unhappy Moalosi confirmed that he is indeed appealing the matter because he was treated unfairly. Moalosi, former BOTESSA Secretary General (SG) said that he was being crucified for things that happened back in 2014 when he left his SG position.

Apparently, Moalosi was not present at the committee handing over ceremony in 2014 and now the chickens have come home to roost. “They used the amended 2017 constitution to throw me out, the law that requires an official to hand over when their term comes to an end did not exist back then,” Moalosi said. Moalosi noted that it was unfair that the 2014 issue has been brought back to life to attack him adding that he did not even miss the ceremony intentionally. “I had a family bereavement to attend to and I had informed both the then outgoing and incoming president of my absence. What is surprising is that my deputy did the secretariat handover for our office,” he said.

On the other hand, one of the officials that took charge of the BOTESSA office in 2014 told BG Sport that no explanation was given regarding Moalosi’s absence during the 2014 elections. Keitumetse Gobotsamang, an additional member at BOTESSA elections committee said that he believes they have followed the procedure in carrying out the 2019 elections verification process, however he refrained from commenting further since Moalosi has appealed the matter.

Chairman of the appeals committee, Mohemedi Masale confirmed receiving a formal complaint from Moalosi and said investigations are ongoing on the matter.  Masale noted that they received all the necessary documents this past Saturday and that the expectation is to reach a decision within 14 days after receiving the appeal. “If he still feels aggrieved or any party is not happy with what we will present to them, then they can proceed to other structures, in this case, the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC).”

Meanwhile, the newly appointed President Setlhare has already hit the ground running. His first assignment was the First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB) BOTESSA awards held in Gaborone this past weekend. Speaking to this publication, Setlhare says in his first quarter as president, he is more interested in uniting the association.  “We need to be united for us to achieve goals. I am happy that even former BOTESSA leadership have availed themselves to assist grow the association,” he said. Setlhare explained that having been a tertiary student himself, he fully understands the struggle of their players, who are their key stakeholders.

They intend to meet with members of the Student Representative Councils (SRC’S) in all schools. He said that BOTESSA as the feeder to senior national teams needs to package their product well and make the game appealing even at national level. “The biggest challenge that I have picked in most of the institutions is that there is no proper coordination of school activities and the SRC are the ones who are active. The kids are always alone and we need to speak to management so that they assist players,” Setlhare said. 

Published in Sports
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