Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 26 June 2018 - Botswana Guardian
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 15:34

British film starring Molosi in talks

Dreamcoat Productions, a British film production company behind South African actress Terry Pheto’s much-anticipated British film called Faces (2018), has officially invited Motswana actor Donald Molosi to attend the world premiere of Faces in Durban next month.

Dreamcoat Productions intends to use events around the premiere of Faces to finalise details about their next yet-untitled film, which will feature Molosi alongside heavyweights of both Hollywood and British cinema.
In an open letter addressed to Molosi, the Director of Faces, Joseph Adesunloye writes that Molosi’s presence at the premiere will “enable Dreamcoat Productions to hold private talks between the Director, Molosi and key global film players” about the yet-untitled film.

It is understood that Molosi is already on board the yet-untitled film as co-star and is now lobbying for the international film to include Botswana as one of its filming locations. These talks in Durban therefore will give Molosi the last shot at swaying the decision in favor of Botswana as the set of his next international film.

Whether Botswana is selected as the location or not, one thing is for certain: Molosi’s role in the yet-untitled film will mark the first time that a Motswana actor has a prominent role in a mainstream British film. Molosi most recently appeared in A United Kingdom (2017) opposite Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike and Emmy nominee David Oyelowo. Molosi has won numerous acting and writing awards off-Broadway over the past decade most notably for his magnum opus Blue, Black and White which this year marks its 10th anniversary on the off-Broadway circuit in New York City.

In honor of its South African lead actress, the world premiere of Faces next month will be held at the Durban International Film Festival. Molosi is expected to attend with a small delegation of Botswana creatives.

Published in Style

Cece short for Cingiwe Ciegy casually walks through the headquarters of CrossFit located in Commerce Park, and appears like any other gym personnel. Her walk and even the way she talks gives very little about the type of person she is once in training gear.

Her other nickname, we are told best sums up what she does when she works out. She is one of CrossFit members and shows off a move that leaves us speechless. A rope that has been hanging on one side of the room is tackled in a manner that shows off that training just comes naturally to her.

Going up the rope, twice, feet coiling around the rope so that she does to slip down, one feels like they had a remote control so as to pause her midway and memorise this rare spectacle.  She also shows off her exceptional skills on a machine called assault bicycle, where she does push ups with her legs in the air, and using the wall for support. We learn from one of the three trainers here that the crazier the move, Cece will happily do it with a smile. Her personality proves that everyone who walks through this gym is here to work-out, and still have fun in the process.

Alice Hawkins shows off her skills on a dead lift, tackling 60kg like it’s nothing. Katlego Kgwadi also shows off his exceptional skills on a bar muscle up. Like his peers, he makes the move seem like a piece of cake. The trio is just some of the many members who now passionately follow CrossFit Gaborone.

The first rule of the game here is that one should leave their ego at the door, and when you are working out with the sort of equipment that is used here, you will admit that a big ego does not have a place here. Another rule is that coaches know best, and that there is no room for being unnecessarily brave, which might result in injuries. So one may wonder what this fitness regimen that was developed by Gred Glassman and Lauren Jenai in 2000 is all about. On Thursday morning, BG Style received an invitation to come through and see what CrossFit entails.

According to Wikipedia, CrossFit is promoted as both a physical exercise philosophy and also as a competitive fitness sport. CrossFit workouts incorporate elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, strongman, and other exercises. Wikipedia also points out that CrossFit gyms use equipment from multiple disciplines, including barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, jump ropes, kettlebells, medicine balls, plyo boxes, resistance bands, rowing machines, and various mats.

Hugo Botha is one of the three trainers who is always on hand to guide members, and also sees that they take all safety precautions lest they injure themselves. He highlights that safety comes first. He further explains that they have six sessions that normally comprise 10 members. “You always have a trainer walking around, showing movements and techniques,” he explains, stressing that safety is very important, and that all precautions are taken to avoid unnecessary risks. He also explains that something that sets CrossFit apart from other fitness regimen is the fact that they do constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. “All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymanistics, weightlifting, running rowing and more,” he explains, adding that all the functional movements are handy outside the gym.

“At 65, we still want you to be able to play with your grandchildren,” he adds. One of the members, Tshenolo Molemi explains that CrossFit gives her a lot more than what she would do at a normal gym. Molemi was formerly a spinning instructor at one of the local gyms, and she says that what she loves more about CrossFit is the fact that it challenges her and allows her to grow in terms of fitness capabilities. “I joined CrossFit because I wanted to see what I can do with my body in terms of fitness,” she explains.

She also says that she is loving her time with her new-found fitness regimen. “I am loving it here, and every day we learn new things, and we are growing. It is totally different to what I was doing before I came here,” she explains.
She further says that her favourite routines include rope climbing, and the assault bicycle. 

Published in Style
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 11:21

Healthy meals on wheels

Endorsed by Nature takes pride in cooking, packaging and delivering healthy meals around Gaborone. Managing Director of Endorsed by Nature, Gabrielle Evans says healthy food is what everyone needs to maintain a good health in this hectic era of lifestyle diseases.

Her food looks appetising, and it does not just attract the eye but also satisfies the taste buds. She has always loved cooking healthy meals growing up. “I have always loved cooking healthy meals, so I figured why not make my passion my career,” Evans tells BG Style, emphasising that she cooks low GI meals, which means food that has low calorie content. Just two months back, this good chef saw it fit to start sharing her talent through selling food by delivery.

She tells BG Style that so-far-so-good and she is impressed by the feedback that she gets already. “My customers love my food and I have weekly menus. Each day I have a different meal and I change my meals weekly so that my clients don’t get bored of my food,” she explains.

Evans operates on a mobile café and she says nothing makes her happy than delivering food for her customers on a daily basis. Some of the food listed on her menu include pulled chicken or beef sub, wraps (chicken, beef, bacon and avocado), fresh salads made up with chicken caesar, Thai beef, bacon and avocado, while on the sandwiches list she offers tuna, Thai beef, bacon and avocado, as well as tangy chicken.

On the other hand, she also prepares mouth-watering kebabs made up of chicken, beef and lamb. While eating, some people always prefer a beverage and Endorsed by Nature treats this craving with their delicious smoothies. The smoothies can also be taken by invalids and babies too. They include a variety of flavours such as banana and oats and tropical fusion citrus burst. 

Wraps, burgers and kebabs at Endorsed by Nature are adequately served with sweet potato fries or a side salad and the weekly menu entails chicken breast with grilled vegetables on Monday, whole wheat pasta stir fry on Tuesday, chicken caesar or Thai beef salad on Wednesday while they serve chicken or beef wrap with potato fries on Thursday and chicken or beef kebabs with a side salad on Friday.

The passionate 23-year old Evans starts taking orders from 8:00 am and starts making deliveries by 12:00 noon. She also does catering and has so far had an opportunity to cater at the recent IWG gala dinner held at Botswana Craft.  She also makes platters; breakfast meals and fruit based cuisines too. Her plates cost P45 while smoothies range between P20 and P30. Sandwiches cost P25, kebabs at P30 and salads at P35 and weekly packages go for P300 when monthly package is P850.

Published in Style
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 11:18

Documentary photographer

Towela Tembo enjoys contributing to the social development of Africa through photography and documentaries. She explains that she is most content when she elevates vulnerable, social groups through her work.

“I am Christian and a firm believer in faith, hope and love. I believe in social justice as this translates directly into everything I do,” she says.  Towela notes that it has however been difficult to re-introduce photography as an influential tool for social change because many perceive photography as part of pop-culture. “The nature of my work is mature, sensitive and far from trendy. I want to be an influential photographer. I am proud of the work God has done through me at such a young age. If anything, it has taught me to work hard and strive for excellence in order to exhibit my passion for photography and professionalism.”

She is just 18, and her talent and wisdom belies her age. Towela, a naturalised Motswana originally from Zambia, was born and raised in Gaborone. She completed her secondary education at Rainbow School, attaining 46 points. She completed a short photography course in Cape Town and returned to Botswana. Towela says she had a dull life before she started photography. “When I realised potential in photography as a hobby, it was a very exciting venture.”  She spent hours on end perfecting her craft. “After sharpening my skill for over a year, my mother purchased the camera that I still use today, a Nikon D5200. She told me to turn my ambition into a business and explained that she viewed buying me the camera as an investment and therefore wanted to see the fruits of it.”

That is how PBTK (Photography by Towela Kams) started. The photography business, that caters for families, couples and corporate businesses, has proceeded to exceed Towela’s wildest expectation as she now lists the United Nations Organisation among her regular clients.

Towela spearheaded the HBINY (Her Body Is Not Yours) Campaign, which was birthed from a tragic, real- life experience that happened last year. “I was in a cab and the driver began to narrate explicitly how he and his friend rape school girls. I was not touched or raped that day – it was a situation I prayed myself out of, but it did raise concern surrounding the reality of the issue of sexual assault in Botswana.” She held a photograph exhibition in May at the Botswana National Museum with over 50 attendees that were each given the opportunity to psychoanalyse. She says this powerful exercise was carried out to hold attendees accountable to their thought processes that lead to the continuity of rape culture in Botswana. She adds that the mandate of the HBINY Campaign is to raise consciousness on sexual assault through the medium of photography. “The photographs are meant to raise eyebrows, cause alarm and compel a call-to-action.”

Towela also worked on the Without Borders documentary alongside five other African immigrants from Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana: Sheba Kapambwe, Ketty Mphande, Kwasi AD, Godwin Ifez and Kafui Adjah. They unraveled being bicultural and learning to redefine their meaning of home. She says that working on the documentary was inspired by her own search for cultural identity, “especially nowadays, where the youth including myself tend to be less vested in earning their cultural roots.” She adds: “The cultural dynamic is faced by immigrants across the continent and I felt the urge to address it to improve immigrant - citizen relationships, promote African diversity and share on the immigrant’s perspective of home.”

The documentary will be released on Friday, June 22, 2018 at 6pm on her YouTube Channel: Towela Kams. Towela has also been commissioned by UNHRC SkillShare International to conduct a photography workshop at Dukwi Refugee Camp. “I enjoyed teaching refugees how to photograph manually like professional photographers, and was very impressed to see the work of SkillShare International in the development of skills and elevation of wellbeing in the lives of refugees, considering that I am a social activist myself.”
To view some of her work visit Facebook page Towela Kams and Instagram (@hbiny.campaign)

Published in Style

Local travel agency, Happy Soul Adventures is on an exhilarating journey to change the travel agency industry and how Botswana and her visitors experience the country. Once again the company has conceptualised an impressive concept that promises to add life to the annual Toyota 1000 Desert Race.

The company has partnered with another local company that shares their vision, Bush Buddies, and they showed off their latest project last weekend at the Kalahari Desert Race activation pencilled to take place this weekend.The event took place at the Stanbic Bank Piazza.

Droves of visitors could not get enough of the VIP camping facilities. A home away from home, the VIP tents will see the lucky few who wish to enjoy the annual extravaganza that is the Desert Race in style, surrounded by all the lavish comforts that they will normally enjoy if they were staying in an exclusive hotel. Their camping grounds are located 10km from Jwaneng, and those seeking the VIP package can enjoy their very own private camping grounds.

Speaking in an interview with this publication, Cynthia Mothelesi, the brains behind Happy Soul Adventures explains that their first VIP tent costs P3 800. This is inclusive of welcome basket that comprises socks, hot water bottle, bernie and breakfast and dinner. Most importantly it comes with private toilet and shower. The second package costs P2 500 per night sharing.

It also comes with the same perks as the first package. Thirdly is the package for basic sharing which costs P1 200, and one shares toilets and showers. Lastly, they have a DIY option for those who wish to pitch their own tents for P300. Mothelesi explains that they want their clients to enjoy the Desert Race in style.

“People were really impressed with what we are offering them,” she tells BG Style.  “We are offering them with a once in a lifetime experience,” she adds.  For those who wish to party up in style and enjoy the Desert Race away from huge crowds, the partners have a hospitality marquee, and a ticket goes for P2 500. This package, she says includes food and drinks, as well as an opportunity to see the cars take off. For those who are looking for something different, they can part with P400 to see the cars take off, and they will be transported to and from the departure point.

Published in Style
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 10:58

De Beers opens purse for diamonds

The world’s largest diamond mining company, also Botswana’s main partner, De Beers, has invested US$10.5 billion towards expansion, maintenance and sorting diamonds ahead of negotiations for the Diamond Sales and Lease Agreement with Botswana.
De Beers has also committed to spend US$ 170m this year alone on marketing natural diamonds to consumers around the world.

The revelation comes as some form of relief as many pundits were worried by the De Beers’ announcement to launch a new company called Lightbox jewellery that’d be marketing laboratory grown diamonds. De Beers had also said it had invested
US$94million over four years in the company. However, De Beers Group Executive Vice President Corporate Affairs, David  Prager has  allayed these fears and assured Batswana and the neighbouring diamonds producing countries of Namibia and South Africa- whose diamonds too are for development - to be “encouraged and not worried” as nothing will replace natural diamonds.
He was fielding questions from Botswana Guardian.

Jwaneng appetite
Prager, flanked by Group Executive Vice President commercial and partnerships, Alessandra Berridge, said De Beers is committed to the long term diamond industry. “First, we have not launched Lightbox inspite of our optimism about the future of diamond industry. Consumers around the world spent a record of US$82 billion on diamond jewellery last year, of which USD 43bn was just in the United States alone, that is more than global and the American consumers have ever spent on diamond jewellery.
“We think the future of the diamond is really exciting, we are investing more than US$10 bn over the next five (5) years in maintaining mines, bringing new mines into production, expanding new mines, sorting diamonds, buying diamond technology to detect synthetic diamonds and marketing diamonds.

“We are going to spend US$ 170m this year alone on marketing natural diamonds to consumers that is more than what we spent in a decade and next year we will even spend more than that. So compare that to the investment we are making in Lab grown diamond, we are opening a production in lab grown Oregon in USA and over the next four (4) years, we will invest USD94m.

“There is really no comparison on the scale in terms of where our investment is and where our money is, but what we also know is for our USD10.5bn to be secure, it’s for the diamonds to have a market, not where consumers are confused on what is synthetic and what is natural, that is bad   for De Beers and Botswana”.

He said they hope that with Lightbox, it will provide consumers with clarity around what a lab grown diamonds are, and what occasion they should be used for. “There are two different things. It is public knowledge that expansion in Jwaneng is reaching the end of its viability. The timing of the Lightbox is not related to that, it is related to the research that has been done over the last 18 months and the issue that we seek to address in that is reaching a point where we believe we need to do something about it.
“Yes, we are obviously looking at the expansion of Jwaneng and Orapa in time, these are very much on the cards and a discussion between us is open”.

Engaged government
Prager said that Light box have had many engagements with the former president, Ian Khama. “We have also spoken and visited President Mokgweetsi Masisi and we have briefed his cabinet on two occasions. I think De beers and government are aligned in terms of strategy and in terms of our understanding that our partnership in Botswana is entering into a new face and we will be having that discussion in due course”.

Insightful Masisi
“I was part of the team that briefed President Masisi back in November whilst still a VP in the UK and we briefed him on the Lightbox strategy and what we saw going on in the market. I have to tell you, not only was he supportive and  encouraging, he was incredibly insightful  and some of the insights he gave us at the time really helped to form and shape the Lightbox strategy going forward”.
 Berridge  added  that , “Yes, we had a team member from government embedded  in the Lightbox team for the last 18 months or so, and we have kept government updated on the  research  that we have done and the strategy as we came with the announcement on 29th May.” 

No stone left unturned
De Beers took both Namibian President Hage Geingob and South African President Cyril Ramaposa and their teams through its strategy ahead of the announcement. “I think that across all three producer countries there is an understanding of the strategy and of the fact that ultimately from a natural diamond perspective,” said Prager.

But is the decision to go the lab grown diamonds way a strategy to wipe out competitors and control the market? Prager said; “We are following what our consumer research tells us, consumers tell us two things, that lab grown diamonds are different than natural diamonds, natural diamonds are for less most important things. Our view is, we have created this product, it has completely different story from natural diamonds and we put it in the market and it will compete and competition will hopefully give consumers what they want and others synthetic diamonds producers who want to compete with the product.”

Condemn synthetic
Prager vehemently denied that De Beers has ever condemned synthetic diamonds. “Let us be clear, De Beers did not condemn synthetic diamonds, who are we to do so? We never had problems with synthetic diamonds; we had a problem with synthetic diamonds that were marketed in a misleading way. We have invested tens of millions over decades to create screening technology that allows us to screen diamonds to determine which ones are real.

“Our view is that Lightbox is far from the natural diamonds, nobody has beaten us nor are we joining them. We think natural diamonds are the tremendous future. We are a natural diamond company and we are bullish on the future of the natural diamonds; USD 82 billion was spent on the diamond jewellery around the world last year that is a record”.

Published in News
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 10:55

Botswana Oil chickens out

Botswana Oil Limited, the government-owned petroleum company, has chosen not to take Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) to court over the decision to turn down its application for exclusive import licence, its Chief Executive has disclosed.

In fact, the Willie Mokgatle-led institution has chosen the most diplomatic way of engaging with government on the matter, in a bid to find a harmonious solution. In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Mokgatle, who is an old hand in the petroleum industry, said government, through the minerals resources, green technology and energy ministry has taken a decision to find solutions to issues related to the rejection of the licence by BERA.

According to the former Shell Botswana boss, the discussions will also ensure the two entities (Botswana Oil and BERA) who are from the same ministry avoid locking horns in a court of law. “I believe in the coming months a solution will be found,” said the optimistic Mokgatle.

BERA, the petroleum and gas regulator has given Botswana Oil  thumps down, after the latter applied to be the sole importer of petroleum and related services in Botswana, citing several factors.
The verdict, which was delivered by BERA Chairperson Bernard Ndove, keeps the status quo, which permits multinational companies in the sector such as Puma, Engen and Shell to participate in importing petroleum and petroleum products into the country.

The regulator is clear on its decision to deny Botswana Oil such exclusive licence. “Botswana Oil has not submitted a business case in support of the proposed changes in the current arrangements for importation of petroleum and petroleum products in the country, therefore making it difficult to assess the costs and benefits of the proposal,” said the authority in its 8th May 2018 decision. Accordingly, it is this failure by Botswana Oil not to state their financial readiness, that they are capable of being the sole importer, and with the absence of this information, the application is based on speculation, said BERA. By law, any application for this licence, Botswana Oil included, is supposed to provide evidence of their financial capability, but such information was not provided when the application was lodged.

Speaking to Botswana Guardian at the upmarket Rooms 52 hotel, Mokgatle indicated that, Botswana Oil is financially-ready to become the only importer of petroleum products in Botswana. He said, for every litre of petroleum products purchased by consumers, Botswana Oil is entitled to 17, 5 thebe. This allows the Gaborone-based company to go into the open market to raise cash if the need arises.

Mokgatle also revealed that the company, which has been registered privately, has also agreed with Omani Trading International to supply it with petroleum products on a credit basis. “This is a done deal (referring to the Omani),” he said confidently. Omani Trading is an Oman company which specialises in selling, marketing and supplying crude oil.  Botswana Oil, which was established in 2013 applied for the licence last month.

Subsequently a hearing was convened which was attended by various stakeholders, being players in the oil industry, experts, the public and business associations among others. The other reason for the rejection is that at the time of lodging the application, Botswana Oil was still negotiating with various stakeholders for agreements and contracts for oil supply. This did not put Botswana Oil in any good stead since their submission meant that their capacity is dependent on being given the exclusive licence, added BERA. “However, the requirement of Section 39(2) (d) is that at the time of application one must have capacity. A demonstration of capacity is a prerequisite of the issuance of the licence,” said Ndove. Botswana Oil does not have sufficient storage capacity to secure 60 days of uninterrupted supply, said Ndove.

“Contrary to the submissions made by the applicant, government’s planned petroleum products storage programme clearly indicates that the construction of the Tshele Hills project, expansion of the Francistown depot and development of the new storage depot will only fulfill the 60 days stock cover by the year 2020,” explained BERA.  As things stand, the domestic market consumes 1, 2 billion of litres of petroleum products on an annual basis, which amounts to 100 million litres of consumption per month, said the Botswana Oil CEO. 

Once granted an exclusive licence, Botswana Oil will be coming with an additional capacity of 10 million litres which will add to an already existing capacity of 20 million litres which is the combined capacity of all top five oil operating companies in Botswana, said Mokgatle. He said that they are willing to start with importing 50 percent of the total requirements of petroleum products in Botswana, before gradually moving to 100 percent. However, BERA has refused to accede to this proposal, arguing that once the licence is granted it will immediately exclude other players from importing.

Published in News
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 10:51

Strong global growth to prop-up Botswana

Bank of Botswana executives are optimistic the economy will expand at a much higher rate in 2018 after taking a knock last year, as a result of positive sentiments both locally and globally, Botswana Guardian has heard.

This came out clearly at a press conference which was meant to announce Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) decision on the benchmark rate, which has been maintained at 5 percent for the third time this year. But what is making central bank’s head honchos buoyant on the economic performance while rainfalls have been recorded above normal levels, made even worse by falling disposable income within the working as well as  muted consumer confidence in the country and an increasingly protectionist mentality by Donald Trump United States ?

Bank of Botswana Governor Moses Pelaelo and the bank’s director, research and financial stability, Dr Kganetsano Tshokologo are adamant that the economy will pick to levels higher than last year as a result of improved economic conditions here and elsewhere.
Responding to a Botswana Guardian question on why they are buoyant, Tshokologo stated that economic conditions suggest that the global economy will grow even better than predictions made by International Monetary Fund (IMF) early in the year. In January, the Washington based Fund uplifted its global economic projection by 0, 2 percent to 3, 9 percent, arguing that ‘momentum is building in global economic activity and Donald Trump’s tax cuts in the US are likely to stimulate activity further’.

Global growth is important for Botswana’s economy as the mineral rich country depends on consumer confidence in developed countries which have the ability to purchase luxury goods such as diamonds.  De Beers, a joint venture between Botswana and Anglo American sells most of its diamonds mined in Botswana to United States of America, China and India.  De Beers is also pinning its hope on synthetic diamonds for its revenue going forward. For the first time the company will start making synthetic diamonds for the retail business this September. Botswana supports the latest move by the world Number 1 rough diamonds producer.

The other reason why the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to expand further this year because as the economy improves in developed countries, the tourism industry in Botswana also benefits, said Kganetsano. Tourism is one of the biggest contributors to national GDP. There are other sectors which will pick Botswana’s economy this year, stated Pelaelo in a prepared speech this Tuesday. “GDP is projected to expand at a faster rate in the short-to-medium term, driven largely by growth in the services sectors and recovery in mining activity, in line with the positive global economic prospects,” said the Governor.

Furthermore, the projected accommodative monetary conditions in the domestic economy and expansion in government expenditure, as well as relative stability in water and electricity supply, are expected to support economic activity in the non-mining sectors. Overall, the economy is expected to operate close to but below full capacity in the medium term. Water and electricity sectors which have in the past dragged down the economy, have now stabilised and this will be critical to support other sectors of the economy such as manufacturing and construction. Finance and Economic Development minister, Kenneth Matambo has stated the economy will grow by 5, 3 percent this year on the backdrop of improved diamond industry.

Two weeks ago, IMF economists visited Botswana and also came to the conclusion that, the economy will bounce back. “In 2018, economic growth is expected to rebound supported by higher diamond sales, a stable macroeconomic environment, and higher government spending,” said the team.  Meanwhile, IMF has advised the MokgweetsI Masisi-led government to remove many tax exemptions, increase property taxation and consider making the personal income tax more progressive.

“On the expenditure side, it will be important to contain the growth of recurrent spending, improve the efficiency of social programs, and protect public investment while prioritising projects with the highest payoffs. In addition, the financial sector can be further developed to intermediate additional savings and lend to productive sectors by strengthening creditors’ rights, improving information on borrowers’ creditworthiness, increasing the issuance of government bonds to develop a reliable yield curve, and promoting mobile payments,” said IMF economists.

The diversification and job creation efforts requires focus on prompt and bold market friendly reforms that can reduce the costs of doing business, improve skills in the labor force, make the public sector more efficient, privatise key enterprises, and enable competition and entry of firms in sectors with latent comparative advantage.

Published in News
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 10:43

Botswana debt burden to IFIs over P13bn

Botswana Government owes nine (9) regional and international financial institutions over P13 billion in loans. As of end of March 2018, the nine (9) institutions according to Minister of Finance and Economic Development Kenneth Matambo are African Development Bank (AfDB), African Development Fund (ADF), Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), European Investment Bank (EIB), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Development Association (IDA), Nordic Investment Bank (NIB), Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

According to the minister the financial institution which is owed a lot of money is AfDB. “There are three loans owed AfDB with original loan amounts totaling P16.67 billion. The three loans are subject to an interest of six (6) months London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus 0.40 percent, five (5) years grace period and fifteen (15) years’ repayment period. “The payments are made semi-annually and the outstanding balance totals P11. 73billion. IBRD is owed three loans with original loan amounts totaling P3.550 billion. The loans are subject to an interest rate of 6 months LIBOR plus 0.40 percent. Grace period ranges from between five and ten years while repayment period ranges between 18 and 25 years. The debt outstanding amounts to P1.64 billion,” said the minister.

The AfDB loans were used for Morupule B, Pandamantenga Agricultural Infrastructure Development project (still ongoing) and Economic Diversification Budget support. Matambo said the ADF is owed twelve loans with original loan amounts of P978.49 million. All loans, Matambo said, are subject to a fee of 0.75 percent, ten years’ grace period, forty years’ repayment period and the outstanding balances are at P539.27 million. He pointed out that BADEA is owed three loans. The original loans contracted amount to P266.92 million and all loans are subject to an interest charge of three percent, five years grace period and fifteen years repayment period, said the minister adding that the outstanding balances amount to P169.86 million. “There are four loans with EIB and the original amounts contracted total P107.24 million. The loans are subject to a fee of 0.75 percent, ten years’ grace period and 30 years repayment period. The outstanding balances total P41.15 million.

IDA has five loans still owed. The original amounts totaled P115.82 million and are subject to a fee of 0.75 percent, ten years’ grace period and 40 years’ repayment period. The balance outstanding amounts to P13.88 million. NIB is owed five loans with original loan amounts totaling P910.66 million. The loans are subject to a fee of 0.75 percent and grace period ranges between five and ten years while repayment period ranges between ten and 30 years. The debt outstanding amounts to P423.12 million,” the minister told Parliament this week.

Matambo revealed that OPEC is owed four loans with the original loan amounts totaling P768.26 million. One loan Matambo stated, is subject to an interest of rate of six months LIBOR plus 0.40 percent. The other three loans are subject to interest rates ranging between 3.75 and 5.2 percent. All the loans according to the minister have five years grace period and fifteen years repayment period. The balance still outstanding amounts to P168.34 million.

He noted that IFAD is owed one loan with original loan amount of P24.79 million. The loan is subject to an interest of six months LIBOR plus 0.40 percent, five years grace period and fifteen years repayment period. Matambo indicated that balance outstanding amounts to P5.62 million. The minister was responding to a question from Member of Parliament for Selibe Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse who wanted to know the number of regional and international financial institutions owed by government and the amounts owed.

Published in News
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 10:39

CEDA’s shady cabal exposed

A declaration of war on corruption by the CEO of CEDA, Thabo Thamane, has set him on a collision course with disgruntled employees challenging their dismissal after they were found guilty of contravening the Agency’s conditions of service.

Thamane recently vowed to rid CEDA of corrupt employees in a bid to restore its integrity and trust. Subsequent to introducing the declaration, Thamane was quoted extensively in the local media vowing to discipline corrupt employees who actively violate CEDA policies and procedures. “We have to restore Batswana’s trust in us because we are custodians of public funds,” said Thamane.

The ink had hardly dried on his statement before CEDA was called once again to defend its stance last week at the Francistown Industrial Court where one of its employees, Victor Chivasera who was dismissed after being allegedly found guilty of negligence and contravening the Agency’s rules and regulations, had challenged the decision.   Representing CEDA, attorney Doctor Pusoentsi of Modimo & Associates argued that   Thamane’s decision was procedurally and substantively fair and therefore Chivasera's application for reinstatement must be dismissed because his relationship with CEDA has broken down irretrievably and “he is not entitled to any compensation,”.

BG News has learnt that Chivasera was dismissed in the wake of a P900 000 corruption scandal that was allegedly exposed by a routine patrol by the law enforcement agencies which culminated in the arrest of illegal immigrants who were working at a construction site. It is said that upon being apprehended, the illegal immigrants allegedly revealed that they were employed by a certain Kabelo Moalosi who worked as Portfolio Executive - Services at CEDA Palapye Branch. Further investigations revealed that CEDA had recently awarded a P900 000 loan to a certain Modiro Moalosi to construct a guest house at the same plot at which the illegal immigrants were arrested.

It is said Modiro Moalosi turned out to be Kabelo Moalosi’s mother. Kabelo Moalosi later confessed to a forensic investigations team that had been commissioned by CEDA that he prepared and submitted the loan application on behalf of his mother. He also allegedly informed his two colleagues - Victor Chivasera and Malebogo Moseki - about the project. Chivasera, who was employed as Team Leader, received the application and later allocated it to Moseki for processing.

The Investigations also revealed that Moalosi, Moseki and Chivasera are members of the same church. It is further alleged that Moalosi was actively involved in the appraisal of the loan application as he captured critical documents into the CEDA computer system. He also allegedly conducted site visits and filled out the Loan Appraisal Report. The loan application in question was allegedly later recommended for approval and endorsed by Chivasera.

Having satisfied themselves the forensic team later reported that Moalosi had violated principles of conflict of interest as defined by the Corruption and Economic Act and the CEDA Conditions of Service. Both Chivasera and Moseki were accused of negligence as they disbursed payments without verifying that indeed work had been done.

Subsequent to their investigation CEDA forensic team concluded that both Chivasera and Moseki were negligent in their duty because they both never met, saw the owner of the project  and, or engaged her in any way, but instead proceeded to pay the contractors without any building inspection certificates to confirm that work had been done. Based on the above, CEDA dismissed the trio of Chivasera, Moseki and Moalosi. Chivasera has since launched an application challenging his dismissal. The parties will file their submissions in July while judgment will be delivered in August 2018.

Published in News
Page 1 of 2

BG Calendar

« June 2018 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30