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PUBLIC, PRIVATE SECTORS PARTNER FOR NEW ENTREPRENEURSHIP POLICY

Keikantse Lesemela

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SMEs will benefit from the renewed NEP policy

A series of meetings on the National Entrepreneurship Policy (NEP) will help public and private sector address technology challenges and dismantle barriers to innovative entrepreneurship.

Before development of the NEP, SMMEs development and entrepreneurship policy in Botswana was based on the SMME Policy of 1999, then in 2013 the Ministry of Trade and Industry commissioned a study to review the policy and come up with a holistic NEP for Botswana, geared towards the promotion of entrepreneurship and SMMEs development in Botswana.

In Partnership with the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, the World Bank convened industry leaders from the private and public sector.They were to ensure the draft policy reflected a common understanding of the key challenges facing Botswana’s entrepreneurs and inform a common vision for prioritized solutions that can accelerate entrepreneurship in Botswana.

Minister of Investment Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo said the ministry commits to take on board all the insights derived from the policy hack and will ensure that they are considered for adoption into the NEP. She said the ever changing and disruptive technologies pose opportunities and challenges to both traditional industries as well as government therefore a new approach to public policy making being the Policy Hackathon has emerged. “To this end the policy hack is defined to help both public and private sector leaders from entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world to experiment and leverage this approach,” said Kenewendo.

The new NEP is developed to provide a framework to stir the creation of new startups and expansion of existing enterprises with high growth potential as well as addressing the challenges that may constrain their development. Kenewendo highlighted that the NEP 2019 emphasizes export led growth, hence it is focused at fostering entrepreneurship as well as promoting SMMEs development with a view to creating globally competitive industries. It also strengthens coordination among all institutions involved in entrepreneurship and SMMEs development for effective implementation of the policy.

“We are at the beginning of a process that is bringing together members of Botswana’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. Even after the Policy is passed by parliament, we must continue to hear from all of you to fine tune the policy’s implementation and ensure that it meets your needs and expectations,” she said.

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Gov’t swiftly acts on BMC

Koobonye Ramokopelwa

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Government has moved swiftly to place Botswana Meat Commission under the care of a management firm; the move is meant to put the Commission into shape both operationally and financially.

This was disclosed by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, further stating the BMC is technically insolvent despite having received nearly P1billion as a bailout in recent times. The new management company will run BMC, which is based in Lobatse starting on the 2020/2021 financial year.

The finance minister made it crystal clear that, the move to appoint a caretaker firm for BMC was made to protect the interests of all stakeholders, including farmers. According to Matsheka, the Minister of Agriculture Development and Food Security, Dr Edwin Dikoloti will provide more details on the BMC changes in due course during his committee of supply speech. Government is also proceeding with the conversion of BMC to a company under the Companies Act following the approval of BMC Transition Bill and subsequent repeal of the old Act.

The repealing of the BMC Act has since eliminated the monopoly of the Commission when it comes to beef and cattle export. The repeal has also enabled government to establish a beef regulator which will be responsible for regulating the beef and the cattle sector. “Another aspect of the transition is the ultimate privatization of BMC.

The objective of the privatization of BMC is, among others, to engage the private sector in the ownership and management of the BMC to achieve operational efficiency and profitability, as well as reduce Government’s future financial commitments in the entity. This would be an important process in the transformation of the beef and cattle sector,” noted Matsheka. BMC which is 100 percent owned by government has been operating with losses for many years due to internal and external challenges such as poor supply and Foot and Mouth Disease(FMD).

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BSE invite companies for CSD project

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Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has intentions to implement a new Central Securities Depository (CSD) system by the second quarter of next year.

Authorities at the bourse have already put out a call for companies to perform a post migration data verification and quality assessment from the current depository system to a new depository system set to go live in the first half of 2020.“As part of the project, the BSE is to migrate master data and reference data from the current system to the new CSD system,” said BSE in a statement released this week.

According to BSE, the project will include comprehension of the BSE Data Migration Strategy and Plan and data mapping design and rules, review of the data migration ETL processes, data quality verification completeness, accuracy, consistency, definition and scope of data to migrate. In addition, BSE said it will migrate only active or open transactions in the current system to the new system. The scope of open transactions includes active or running corporate actions, active investor accounts, investor account balances above zero, active participants, active issuers and active instruments.

Meanwhile, BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole is on record citing that the new CSD system comes with functionalities such as securities borrowing and lending (SBL), management of the settlement guarantee fund, initial public offering (IPO) processing, e-voting for listed entities, repo management and online investor access.

Commenced in the first quarter of 2019, the project is also an integral element of the ongoing single CSD project pioneered by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority and BSE.

The system is also expected to help increase the CSD system ratings by Thomas Murray, an assessment of which will be conducted once the system has been commissioned in early 2020.

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