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Time Projects to erect new business hub in Setlhoa Park

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Time Projects’ new office park in Setlhoa village in Block 10 will be the new business hub in Gaborone North with capacity to create about 100 jobs for citizens in its construction phase. The development, Pinnacle Park consists of customised 150-meter square to 600-meter square offices and showrooms that will be for sale and rental. The P150 million project is expected to commence beginning August and complete by July 2019. In an interview with the Business Trends, Time Projects Commercial Manager, Brett Marlin said they wanted to offer low rank office parks with a lot of space and landscaping similar to offices in South Africa. “We realised that there is lack of office space for people in the Northern side of the capital, so we wanted to cater for those people so they do not have to travel long distance to the Central Business District or Fairgrounds. We believe that Setlhoa is going to be the new hub in Gaborone North,” said Marlin.

He highlighted that the development would be carried out by citizen contractors. “ We are going to place an expression of interest in two weeks time and we are looking for local contractors only. We do not use South African contractors because we believe we have enough skilled citizen contractors,” said Marlin. Currently, the company has completed the design phase of the project and have started construction on the smaller Setlhoa plot with a retail park concept for the home décor and design sector. Meanwhile, two smaller extensions to existing centres are also underway with a one-shop extension at Sebele Centre and a fast food drive-through at Pilane Crossing where KFC will be opening.

In its half-year ended February 2018, Prime Time Holdings recorded 18 percent increase in rental income. However, profits declined to P12.7 million from P18.4 million in the prior period. The company stated that several significant tenants have been able to open at Pilane Crossing after obtaining their trading licences PEP, Ackermans, Clicks and Jet all opened in the first quarter of 2017. The company stated that however, it will still take some time to stabilise after its rocky start, but with the new KFC drive through due to open shortly it is looking more positive. Marlin also highlighted that they are planning to expand Pilane Mall by up to 700 square meters as the property is now fully let. “ We are working on expanding the mall in two months time,” he said.

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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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