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NDB loan burden hovers over P500million

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The National Development Bank finds itself crippled by non-performing loans which are hovering at over half a million. In an engagement with the media last Friday, the Chief Executive Officer of the soon to commercialise development bank, Lorato Morapedi revealed that the business is going through a tough trading environment. Non- performing loans (NPLs) are on the shoot up.

“As at March 2017 our level of NPLs is at P672million which is 45 percent of our loan book. For 2015/16 we took a conscious decision to slow down disbursements to P122million from the normal average of P400million in the previous years. The lower the disbursements the lower the revenue,” revealed Morapedi. Just recently, Bank of Botswana Governor, Moses Pelaelo expressed concerns on the recent upward trend in non-performing loans.

Pelaelo said while this trend could be, in part, due to sluggish global economic activity and idiosyncratic business performance and environment, there is some evidence of lack of financial discipline on the part of some individuals and poor management practices by some businesses. The bank finances mostly agriculture projects which constitute 48 percent of its loan book, 16 percent amounts to the share of mortgage financing, 12 percent to commerce and retail and one (1) percent on human capital.

According to the bank’s management projects that have borrowed are unable to pay on time. For the 2015/16 reporting period, they managed to recover P116million from non- performing loans and are continuing to collect. The high NPLs resulted in high impairments leaving the bank to record a loss of P168million with the bulk coming from the impairments. “It is not a good state of affairs but what is important is that we know where this problem comes from. We are hoping to recover P100million this year.

We have revised our loan book policy and this will come up with an improved quality loan book and will see the bank’s profitability increasing,” said a hopeful Morapedi. The challenges the bank highlighted range from drought, Foot and Mouth Disease, government spending cuts, lay-offs from mining and lower interests rates amongst others.

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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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