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Botswana Post ups the ante on its property portfolio

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BotswanaPost’s corporate objective of unlocking value from its property portfolio remains top priority; as it continues to diversify its revenue streams as a strategy under guard to move towards self-sustenance, Business Trends has learnt.

As a result of the lack of recapitalisation funding, which has stifled the BotswanaPost business initiative and prospective ventures especially in implementing the property strategy – that has been ready since 2012 – the property segment has been lagging behind.

Responding to Business Trends inquiries around the portfolio, BotswanaPost’s Head of Corporate Communications, Lebogang Bok said they have now adopted a double pronged approach to look for recapitalisation from the shareholders as well as leveraging other partnerships.

This takes into account the negative impact the recent recession has had on government coffers, and the sheer size of government responsibility. “By nature, property development requires a huge initial capital outlay. Given the well documented shareholder funding challenges not only to BotswanaPost, the immediate and realistic option is to aggressively pursue leverage of partnerships on properties which the Government vested to Botswana Postal Services back in 1989 and registering newly acquired land with Deeds Registry,” she indicated.  

Upon concluding with partners, Bok revealed that implementation of the property strategy is expected to accrue short term gains annually from ground rental and in the long term realise full value when the property reverts to Botswana Postal Services. In its 2014/15 annual report, the then BotswanaPost Chief Executive Officer, Pele Moleta indicated that they had taken stock of all their properties in the country.

It became evident that in some localities BotswanaPost is sitting on high value commercial land that could be developed when funding is available. “We have explored other avenues of developing property without relying on government but realised that this option carries increased risks.

And unless we are in a position to negotiate with prospective partners from a position of strength; it would be preferable to shelve these projects for the time being,” Moleta indicted in the report.

BotswanaPost’s assets recorded an 8 percent decline to P433.7milllion in the financial year 2014/15 from P473.5million in the prior year; whilst in 2012 the assets sat at P340.3million.

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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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