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Accounting technicians urged to further their studies

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Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) graduates have been urged to study further otherwise the job market will not absorb them. Speaking during the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) AAT graduation ceremony, BICA chief Executive Verily Molatedi said graduates should grab every opportunity and act on it if they have to be successful in life.

“This is just the beginning of your professional lives but given the acute unemployment out there, I wish to encourage you to study further and do it while you are still young,” said Molatedi. She said the need for finance and accounting professionals is a going concern and if graduates have to study further to add value to the economy, it will surely go a long way in addressing such a need.

She encouraged all graduates to enrol for the BICA qualification as well as to register with BICA as members as provided for in the Accountants Act of 2010. “ Registration with BICA will ensure that you get support from the Institute which will ensure that learning and development remains relevant to you at all stages of your career and hence the public will also develop confidence in your skills,” she said.

AAT Director of Marketing and Commercial, Andrew Williamson said Botswana AAT graduates are the largest group of all AAT programs in the world. There were about 350 graduates during the ceremony. He said AAT qualification is the difficult course, which demonstrates to employers that a graduate has proven that he can run through tough assignments and succeed.

“AAT qualification is difficult, it is the top of the trade and it demonstrates to employers that a graduate can break the odds,” said Williamson. BICA President, Rudy Binedell urged the graduates to work harder and look for available opportunities to work for themselves as finding job is not easy. “ Do not just rest on your laurels because you have attained the qualification but continue working hard and infinite possibilities surely abound. Given current unemployment figures, you might opt to work for yourself by providing accountancy services for other businesses,” said Binedell Binedell said as government deliberately steers from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based one in an effort to diversify the economy, accounting profession should be at the forefront of economic activity to ensure sound financial management and corporate governance practice.

“That way we will undoubtedly help attract investors and subsequently the Foreign Direct Investment which is needed for any economy to thrive,” said Binedell. However, a recent report by the World Bank stated that in order for graduates to be job-ready, secondary education needs to inculcate 21st century skills and vocational skills demanded by employers. Currently there are 87 000 graduates unemployed in Botswana.

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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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