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FNB Botswana increases footprint with new Branch in Mochudi

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First National Bank of Botswana recently officially opened a new branch at Pilane Mall in Mochudi. The Bank’s 23rd Branch was officiated by the Governor of Bank of Botswana, Moses Pelaelo. The Bank, which has renewed its focus on customer-centricity, is making an effort to make banking easier and more accessible to more Batswana.

The opening of a branch in Mochudi is in line with the Bank’s expansion plan of increasing its footprint countrywide, in the interest of serving a wider customer base. FNBB CEO, Steven Bogatsu emphasised the importance of investing in infrastructure to make banking comfortable and convenient. “Taking banking to the people has always been a top priority at FNB, because we endeavour to save customers money and time spent travelling to another location to access banking facilities. Our presence here in Mochudi also presents us with an opportunity to bank the unbanked bankable population”, said Steven Bogatsu.

Mochudi Branch boasts a number of quality services such as self-service zones where customers can view their accounts and print statements, Internet banking Kiosks, ATMs and ATMs with Deposit. All these modern facilities are part of the bank’s effort to continue to offer enhanced services in response to local demand, hence making banking more flexible and convenient for customers.

Mochudi Branch opening follows the recent relocation of Kanye and Mahalapye Branches to a more spacious location and the refurbishment of the Gaborone Industrial branch. Over the last five years, FNB has grown organically to be the largest bank in the country. The bank’s total assets increased from P13.9 billion in December 2011 to P23.6 billion in June 2017. In the same period, loans and advances rose from P8.3 billion to P15.6 billion, while deposits grew from P11.8 billion to P18.7 billion.

The bank employs a total of 1 269 staff members, most of whom are Batswana; it has a network of 23 branches, 150 cash dispensing Automated Teller Machines, 51 Automated Teller Machines that have deposit taking capabilities, 25 Slimline Automated Teller Machines and 5 600 point of sales machines in retail outlets all over the country.

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‘Manufacturing holds key to economic growth’

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Barclays bank’s economist Naledi Madala has urged the country to consider manufacturing, as a key tailwind to drive the economy and reduce inequality.

She was speaking at a gathering organised by the bank which focused on economic outlook for 2019. “We should not make a mistake of leapfrogging without manufacturing,” said Madala, lamenting that the country’s diversification remains a pipeline dream, as the diamond is still the economy’s mainstay. She bemoaned that mining activities in the country could not spring forward diversification, though non-mining GDP has been steady over the years.

“Extractive industries are not good stepping stones for diversification, the sector does not prepare us for the next step,” said Madala at the Barclays’ Economic Outlook Forum Review 2019. The economist further noted that government should confront head-on challenges of productivity and competitiveness to attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Though diversification efforts continue to hit a brick wall, Madala said the country should expect increased activities in the mining sector hinged to ramp up in coal production in the year ahead.

She also implored government to consider a welcoming attitude towards foreign investors and generous tax incentives to businesses that set up in the country. Madala is also upbeat that the use of public private partnership model could also help diversify the economy coupled with privitisation. “Privitisation will offer opportunities for growth, through the renewed optimism from government, as business confidence has improved,” said Madala.

She implored the government and the business community to access what is going to drive and hinder growth highlighting that key headwinds to growth are income inequality, diversification challenge and productivity, among others. “The pace of poverty reduction has slowed down, while income inequality goes up,” said Madala

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MINISTER BEWAILS BAD REPAYMENT BY YOUTH

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has told parliament his ministry continues to face challenges on the repayment of Youth Development Fund (YDF) loans.

Recently presenting the budget to Parliament, Khama said this financial year the ministry has received a total of 2582 YDF applications and approved 983of them to the value of P98 million. He said the programme attracts a high level of interest from youth but the ministry is only limited to funding a maximum of 1200 youth projects annually due to budget limitations.

“However the greatest challenge for the Fund is the repayment of the loan component by the majority of the youth businesses. The youth have advanced number of challenges for this including high rentals for operating spaces, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities,” said Tshekedi, adding that they continue to pursue beneficiaries to repay the loans.

Out of the 919 businesses funded 1058 jobs have been created. The minister highlighted that disbursements of funds will continue to be undertaken until the end of the financial year. “The YDF is currently under review in line with the pronouncement made by the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in the State of the Nation Address, to improve beneficiaries through training, and encourage consortia and cooperatives,” said Tshekedi.

The ministry assists YDF beneficiaries in marketing their products and services through fairs and exhibitions. The ministry also runs entrepreneurship-training seminars for youth and in the past year 3692 young people were trained. Over 600 youth businesses attended fairs and exhibitions to market their products and services. Currently the ministry is collaborating with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), First National Bank Botswana and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) on training in entrepreneurship development and mentorship of YDF beneficiaries.

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