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Matambo calls for prudence

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The 2018/19 financial year budget points to a constrained fiscal space, which continues to characterise the domestic economy. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Matambo says this is mainly a result of slow growth in revenues, coupled with continued expenditure pressures due to additional budgetary requirements by various Ministries.

“Total revenues and grants for the 2018/19 financial year are estimated at P58.81 billion, with the largest amount of P19.67 billion of the total revenues expected to be accounted for by mineral revenue.”For the financial year 2016/17, total revenue and grants amounted to P56.8billion, which represented 2.0 percent over the target of P55.9billion estimated in the revised budget.

Of this amount, 39.6percent was mineral revenue; 20.8 percent customs and excise;16,8 percent non-mineral income tax; 11.6percent Value Added Tax and 5,0 percent Bank of Botswana (BoB) revenue. Except for mineral, customs and excise and BoB revenue items, the performance of most revenue items in the budget outturn were below their targets.

Mineral revenue outperformed its target in the revised budget by 8.0 percent due to increased mineral tax received during the financial year following sale of the diamond inventory. Meanwhile, for the 2018/19 financial year, the budget strategy paper by Minister Matambo outlines that Customs and excise is projected to account for the second largest share of total revenue at P14.00billion, which translates to 23.8 percent.

This will be followed by non-mineral income tax at P13.36billion (22.7 percent) and VAT at P8.11billion (23.8 percent) of the total. The remaining 6.3 percent of the total revenues expected in 2018/19 financial year will come from BoB, as expected earnings on government investment account of the foreign exchange reserves and other revenues, which is mainly property income taxes, fees and grants from donors and development partners.

Matambo called for prudent spending by government ministries and departments. “We need a budget that provides for better infrastructure, stimulates economic activities and create employment opportunities,” he said. He also called for close monitoring of expenditures to ensure that there is value for money.

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OLOPENG HEAPS PRAISE ON BSE FINANCE CHALLENGE

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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WE ARE NOT USING DIAMONDS TO KILL ELEPHANTS, THAT’S HOGWASH! – BOTSWANA MINISTER

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Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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