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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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‘Manufacturing holds key to economic growth’

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Barclays bank’s economist Naledi Madala has urged the country to consider manufacturing, as a key tailwind to drive the economy and reduce inequality.

She was speaking at a gathering organised by the bank which focused on economic outlook for 2019. “We should not make a mistake of leapfrogging without manufacturing,” said Madala, lamenting that the country’s diversification remains a pipeline dream, as the diamond is still the economy’s mainstay. She bemoaned that mining activities in the country could not spring forward diversification, though non-mining GDP has been steady over the years.

“Extractive industries are not good stepping stones for diversification, the sector does not prepare us for the next step,” said Madala at the Barclays’ Economic Outlook Forum Review 2019. The economist further noted that government should confront head-on challenges of productivity and competitiveness to attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Though diversification efforts continue to hit a brick wall, Madala said the country should expect increased activities in the mining sector hinged to ramp up in coal production in the year ahead.

She also implored government to consider a welcoming attitude towards foreign investors and generous tax incentives to businesses that set up in the country. Madala is also upbeat that the use of public private partnership model could also help diversify the economy coupled with privitisation. “Privitisation will offer opportunities for growth, through the renewed optimism from government, as business confidence has improved,” said Madala.

She implored the government and the business community to access what is going to drive and hinder growth highlighting that key headwinds to growth are income inequality, diversification challenge and productivity, among others. “The pace of poverty reduction has slowed down, while income inequality goes up,” said Madala

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MINISTER BEWAILS BAD REPAYMENT BY YOUTH

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has told parliament his ministry continues to face challenges on the repayment of Youth Development Fund (YDF) loans.

Recently presenting the budget to Parliament, Khama said this financial year the ministry has received a total of 2582 YDF applications and approved 983of them to the value of P98 million. He said the programme attracts a high level of interest from youth but the ministry is only limited to funding a maximum of 1200 youth projects annually due to budget limitations.

“However the greatest challenge for the Fund is the repayment of the loan component by the majority of the youth businesses. The youth have advanced number of challenges for this including high rentals for operating spaces, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities,” said Tshekedi, adding that they continue to pursue beneficiaries to repay the loans.

Out of the 919 businesses funded 1058 jobs have been created. The minister highlighted that disbursements of funds will continue to be undertaken until the end of the financial year. “The YDF is currently under review in line with the pronouncement made by the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in the State of the Nation Address, to improve beneficiaries through training, and encourage consortia and cooperatives,” said Tshekedi.

The ministry assists YDF beneficiaries in marketing their products and services through fairs and exhibitions. The ministry also runs entrepreneurship-training seminars for youth and in the past year 3692 young people were trained. Over 600 youth businesses attended fairs and exhibitions to market their products and services. Currently the ministry is collaborating with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), First National Bank Botswana and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) on training in entrepreneurship development and mentorship of YDF beneficiaries.

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