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BHC revenue on the decline

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The Botswana Housing Corporation’s total revenue for the financial year ended 31stMarch 2017 has recorded a nine percent decline. The Corporation’s total revenues reached a low of P493 million, when compared to the P539 million recorded in the prior year. According to the Corporation’s financial statement by its General Manager, Reginald Motswaiso, the decrease was mainly driven by sales revenue which decreased by a significant P43 million or 13 percent, from P326 million to P284 million.

In the prior year, sales revenue was high in comparison with other years and the largest contributor was the Phakalane project. “The Phakalane project was delivered late due to water and sewage impasse experienced in 2012 and a majority of these properties were sold in 2016. The total number of houses sold in 2016/17 was 395 units. “Rental revenue declined by 3 percent, from P182 million in 2015/16 to the current P177 million.

The decline was mainly caused by a once off sale of a major estate in the prior year, which was generating an annual rental of P2.4 million,” reads the financial statement. Gains from the sale of investment properties were P18 million, a decline of 83 percent from P107 million in 2016, still on the back of this once off sale. Rental revenue continues to be a significant and key revenue stream for the Corporation and it is the pillar of the Corporation’s sustainability model.

Income from professional fees at P30 million increased by 10 percent when compared to prior year. Professional fees are revenues from project management done on behalf of third parties. This is the third largest revenue stream for BHC and demonstrates BHC’s ability to use its skilled workforce to deliver projects on behalf of other people.

Professional fee income has grown over the years and it is part of management’s revenue diversification strategy going into the future. On the expenditure side, employee expenses went down by 30 percent mainly as a result of restructuring expenses which were incurred in the prior year. Employee expenses also declined on the back of efficiencies brought about by the re-organisation of the Corporation. Other expenses also went down by 11 percent and this combined with savings in employee expenses largely contributed to the increase in profitability.

Meanwhile, the Corporation recently developed a six year Strategy from 2018 – 2023. The major strategic focus going forward is delivery of the new mandate which clearly encompasses the social housing aspect. In the strategy period BHC is expected to deliver an average of 1500 social housing projects and 1800 commercial housing projects per annum.

Through the Corporation’s six year Strategy some key priority areas have been identified and these are mainly; developing new partnerships with the private sector in housing delivery; responding to customer needs by building/designing for specific markets; serving the unserved markets, especially low income groups; exploring alternative technologies and optimisation of BHC’s research capabilities. These strategic priority areas will ensure focus in delivering the strategic plan and will guide Management in the implementation of the long-term Strategy.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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