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Graduates urged to be innovative

Keikantse Lesemela

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Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) President, Verily Molatedi has urged graduates to look beyond job seeking and come up with creative and innovative ways to create employment and contribute to economic development.

This Monday, over 400 students graduated from Imperial School of Business and Science (ISBS) from different fields including business management, Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), finance and banking, human resource management, tourism and hospitality management and advertising. The ceremony was the first batch of students who completed degree programmes in ISBS.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony, Molatedi said the 21st century is awash with many opportunities and challenges but it is only the optimistic that can rise above and turn challenges into opportunities. “I therefore urge all graduates to acknowledge and take advantage of the government efforts in providing facilities beyond tertiary education and contribute towards economic diversification. To this end some of you may have to be entrepreneurs,” said Molatedi.

Molatedi explained that with over 10 000 graduates annually produced in tertiary institutions, graduates must continually build their skills and think innovatively and create their own brands as this will increase their chances of employability globally.

“Employability is about making sure that you diversify your skills, get knowledge for the industry. It is the key to realizing our economic diversification agenda, and hinges on your availability to be enablers in the country’s present and future economy,” said Molatedi.

Imperial School of Business and Science Director, Nidheesh Sharma said graduates have unique professional identity and a set of values and beliefs that will allow them to continue their quest for lifelong learning and distinguish themselves in their chosen paths as the faculties offered are globally recognized.

“Previously we have had many students completing certificates and diploma programmes but this is the first batch to have completed degree programmes. Graduating annually, young professionals were imparted with the knowledge and skills that are required by the regional and global job market,” said Sharma.

Sharma highlighted that ISBS started in 2003 as a BOTA registered institute and in 2011 it registered with Tertiary Education Council (TEC) and started offering Diploma and Advanced Diploma Programmes. “In 2013, the school re-branded from its old name to current name, ISBS. In 2015, ISBS was awarded best upcoming Institution by HRDC and in 2018 HRDC put us in the top three of Private Colleges,” he said.

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Botswana Railways hit by fuel theft

The MidweekSun Admin

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Botswana Railways CEO, Louis Makwinja

Botswana Railways lost fuel business due to continuous incidents of stolen fuel from the tanks and delays mainly at Mafikeng, in the north Western side of South Africa.

Botswana Railways Chief Executive Officer Leonard Makwinja said, during 2017/2018, their biggest failure was in this area. “Our biggest failure in this aspect was on imports, transporting of fuel from South Africa proved to be a challenge.

There have been incidents of fuel loss on tankers, sometimes a delay in Mafikeng when trains changed and when it arrives in Botswana the tank would be half empty, “said Makwinja. He said this was worsened by allegations that road transportation was cheaper. Currently, they have employed a fuel consultant to look into the whole fuel transportation. “We believe a solution will be found soon.”

The BR Chief explained they heavily rely on the relationship with Transnet to successfully execute its freight mandate. Most of the imports through rail come from South Africa and the main export through rail which is salt and soda ash is transported from Botash to Mafikeng. “Going onwards we have to depend on Transnet for connections to the respective destinations. Our strategic plan going forward is to improve our services to the oil companies so that we are more reliable, timely and profitable.”

During the period, Makwinja said they had to focus on cost containment. The main cost drivers are staff cost, fuel and maintenance of the locomotives. In his statement on Botswana Railways 2018 annual report, Makwinja said the organization’s performance was subdued due to lack of capacity to meet the demand. “In terms of tonnage, our target was 2 million tons but we only achieved 1, 5 million tons. This adverse variance can be attributed to a number of factors including lack of sufficient locomotives and practicing conservative business initiatives and marketing,” he said.

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Calls to improve crop yields with technology

Keikantse Lesemela

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Greenhouse Technologies managing director, Amanda Masire has urged entrepreneurs to venture into agriculture as it is a lucrative business and more beneficial to the national economic development, despite climate change challenges.

Speaking to Business Trends, Masire said there is a need for more training and knowledge on modern agriculture technologies for the country to have sustainable food production. “I am passionate about agriculture and food production. I want to help my country to produce food for itself and reduce dependency on imports. I have learnt that despite all the challenges of climate change, we can still produce our own food through the use of modern technologies,” said Masire.

Masire is an agri-business developer, specializing in horticulture, beekeeping and fish farming. She currently operates Greenhouse Farmers Academy offering training and mentorship on horticulture farming. “Agriculture is the most lucrative business that young people should be looking into. Currently, we depend much on South Africa. We should rise up and develop the sector because as Batswana we have rich land that we are not utilising.” Her services include horticulture starter kit, which includes business plans, lessons, fertilisers and all equipments necessary for a particular horticulture project.

She is currently working with the Ministry of Agriculture Development and Food Security to develop the ISPAAD Program. She said government would embrace modern farming technologies to improve food production. “Most Batswana have lands which they are currently not ploughing because of climate change conditions while the government gives out fertilizers and seeds every year to subsistence farmers yet there is no yield. I have come up with solutions, which include testing soil and supplying lime treatment to reduce acidity. This will help improve crop yield when adopted with other technologies,” she said.

Speaking during Stanbic Lionness Lean In Africa, Masire said with the challenges in the agriculture sector, Batswana should stop looking much into the problems and getting discouraged but should rather think of solutions. “Government is trying but we individuals also need to be innovative and assist government in improving food security. Young people should take opportunity of the agri-business market and reduce unemployment,” said Masire.

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