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Competition & Consumer Authority now in operation

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The minister of investment, trade and industry, Peggy Serame, has through the Extraordinary Government Gazette of 2nd December 2019 published the Competition Act, and the Consumer Protection Act (Date of Commencement) Orders, thereby commencing the Competition and Consumer Authority, CCA.

The ministry announced in a press release that the Competition Act and the Consumer Protection Act were reviewed in 2018 and approved the transfer of the function of the Consumer Protection Office to the new Authority, CCA, which replaces the Competition Authority. The new Authority combines the mandates of the old Competition Authority and the Consumer Protection Unit which used to function under the ministry of investment, trade and Industry.

“The general public and the business community are informed that the commencement of the new Competition and Consumer Authority and the Competition and Consumer Tribunal commenced operation on 2nd December 2019. The transfer of the mandate provides for speedy resolution of consumer complaints and enables the public to escalate unresolved complaints to the Competition and Consumer Tribunal,” the press release said.

Furthermore, the public was informed that services would continue at the current Consumer Protection offices countrywide whereas the Tribunal is housed at the Botswana Bureau of Standards.
Through the Government Gazette notice, the minister also announced the appointment of members of the Competition and Consumer Board and members of the Competition and Consumer Tribunal. The board will be a governance structure while the tribunal will be a specialised competition and consumer court unlike what used to obtain in the previous arrangement where the board had dual functions of governance and adjudication.

Members of the board appointed for a five year term commencing 1st October 2019 are Koonyatse Tamasiga, Kemmonye Keitsile, Phodiso Valashia, Dr. Malebogo Bakwena and Dr. Selinah Peters. Members of the Tribunal have also been appointed for four or five year terms commencing 1st October 2019. They are Sanji Monageng who is President, and Tendekani Malebeswa as Vice President. Other members are Kedibone Sekakela, Tshiano Mosojane, Leruo Moremong, Malebogo Lekgoa and Ruth Basele.

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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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