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NAP mitigates impact of BCL closure on its profits

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Property investment company New African Properties is focussing on the best management practices to sustain the company’s profitability on the back of the negative effects caused by the closure of Botswana Coal Limited mine in Selibe Phikwe. Commenting on the published results for the year ended July 2017, NAP Chairman John Mynhardt and Managing Director Tobias Mynhardt said the company has exposure to Selibe Phikwe which has been impacted by the closure of BCL last year.

“There has been an increase in both vacancies and arrears due to this and management is actively managing the affected properties to mitigate the impact as best as possible,” said Mynhardt. The exposure to Selibe Phikwe is 2.7 percent of the total property value and 3.4 percent of total rental at year end. The company has recorded five percent decline in profits to P199.4 million including non-distributable gains of P62.2 million against P82.4 million in 2016. Net asset value increased by five percent to P1.33 billion from P1.27 last year.

The company indicated that it has renewed 85 percent of leases expiring during the year at an average increase in line with normal escalations and re-let seven percent to new tenants at an average increase of 10.8 percent. Vacancies increased from 1.2 percent to 3.2 percent during the year and amounted to 4139 meter square at year end of which 424m2 has been let. Selibe Phikwe properties account for 1124 meter squared and 27 percent of total vacancies at year end. Mynhardt said the expiry of the leases in Selibe Phikwe is 64 percent, 14 percent and nine percent in each of the next three financial years and 13 percent thereafter.

The tenant composition by the end of the year was 53 percent listed and multinational companies, only one percent nationals, nine percent government and the balance of 37 percent smaller tenants.“It is however expected that the adverse conditions in Selibe Phikwe will continue and management will continue to focus on how best to manage this impact. NAP remains well positioned to fund developments and acquisitions with available debt capacity,” said Mynhardt.

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LEA partners with Ministry for youth businesses

Keikantse Lesemela

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Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, (MYESCD) has partnered with the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) to create a pool of competitive and sustainable youth businesses.

Through the partnership, business management and mentoring services will be provided to the Youth Development Fund (YDF) beneficiaries to enhance their efficiency and capacity to manage and sustain their businesses.Speaking during the signing ceremony MYESCD Deputy Permanent Secretary, Kago Ramokate said the ministry has always had a challenge with lack of expertise mentorship to young entrepreneurs so partnership with LEA will assist the ministry to effectively deliver its mandate.

“Training and mentorship has been a challenge for us because our officers mostly do not have business background so this partnership will address this,” said Ramokate.In his remarks, LEA Chief Executive, Racious Moatshe said the partnership is paramount to achieve government initiative of creating a pool of competitive and sustainable Small Medium and Micro Enterprises that will significantly contribute towards the diversification of the economy. It is also expected to meaningfully impact local communities through employment creation and import substitution.

“We want to ensure that youth businesses are run properly with proper funding. Both institutions will jointly conduct research that has direct impact on scaling up of youth owned businesses in Botswana,” said Moatshe.

He said over 2 500 youth businesses have received LEA intervention. “We want to see more youth businesses succeed”. Meanwhile, the ministry has been urged to come up with a better strategy to effectively deliver the YDF program and produce successful youth businesses. According to the Auditor General’s report for the past year, Pulane Letebele pointed out that the operation of the fund was highly unsatisfactory because of lack of proper monitoring and mentoring of the beneficiaries, financed from the Fund on a 50 percent grant 50 percent loan basis.

The Auditor General complained that two years after the Public Accounts Committee called for a stream lining of the Fund’s accounting system to allow for proper debtor accounting, nothing has been done.The 2015 Auditor General’s report has revealed that all five regions that had been selected for audits during the year show that the fund has failed. “In Maun about P20 million was disbursed in loans and only P400 000 has been paid while P640 000 was the total of arrears covering the entire period from inception of the fund in 2009,” reads the report.

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Ex Debswana boss counsels graduates

Keikantse Lesemela

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Speaking at the graduation ceremony of Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) on Saturday, former Managing Director of Debswana, Balisi Bonyongo said graduates and citizens need to position themselves to develop a clear technology and innovation strategy and roadmap that would enable the nation’s transformation into a knowledge-based economy.

“We need to create an entrepreneurship centre that would bring industry and the college together, to form a powerful force that would co-create breakthrough solutions capable of diversifying our country’s economy,” said Bonyongo.

The college released 645 graduates from different fields on Saturday. Since inception 22 years ago over 11 000 professionals graduated from the school. Bonyongo highlighted that graduates should approach problems creatively to provide sustainable, scalable and exponential solutions that could yield tremendous economic value.

“I urge all graduates to leverage technology and innovation to deliver practical solutions to society’s most urgent problems. Use your qualifications to seize opportunities to do what you love and enjoy,” said Bonyongo.

BAC Executive Director, Serty Leburu said between 2017 and 2018 they have experienced growth in the number of new students both full time and part time. “This mark of quality has inspired us to spread our wings and expand into other markets through various collaboration models,” she said.

Leburu revealed that they are currently in the process to introduce online learning to effectively support part-time students as well as provide some programs digitally. The college has partnered with several international universities including, University of Derby, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sunderland and SAP University Alliance as well as Microsoft and the Cisco Academy.

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