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Botswana Post cuts losses

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Botswana Post has taken a positive turnaround performance in the revenue streams despite the negative impact brought by the use of technology tools. In its year ended March 2017, the organisation has reduced its loss position by 51.9 percent to P12.9 million compared to P27.4 million recorded last year. In its 2017 annual report Botswana Post Chief Executive, Cornelius Ramatlhakwane said the parastatal have managed to expand its revenue base despite the fact that the mail business has taken a large hit during the period. Mail revenues declined by 9.1 percent as many of our large institutional clients such as commercial banks and government agencies have migrated to electronic platforms. “We at Botswana Post see this setback as temporary.

We now have access to leading edge innovations such as Reverse Hybrid Mail, which will enable us to pivot and revive these relationships with the important clients we served for many years. Through technology we are able to recover these income streams and even grow them,” he said. He said Botswana post is currently halfway through its two year turnaround strategy (operational Efficiency Execution Plan) which began in the 2015/2016 financial year in which the operating losses reduced by 24.7 percent.

“Today Botswana Post finds itself in a par superior financial situation than any other time in our recent history,” said Ramatlhakwane.To diversify revenue streams Botswana Post leveraged on mobile technology and introduced the Botswana Post App (available for download on both Android and iOS devises). Ramatlhakwane said their growth plans go beyond Botswana. They are currently in the process of generating revenue streams from within the region by completing money transfers with other postal operators. The post is already transacting with Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. “We believe we can connect the entire region and will be in Malawi soon. Our intention is to do that and more, ultimately reaching out beyond the diaspora,” said Ramatlhakwane.The company is hoping to return to profitability when year ends results are announced next year after March 2018.

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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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