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Corporate governance leads to efficient parastatals



Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) Board Chairman, Tally Tshekiso said there is a need for corporate governance to ensure that parastatals are run well and efficiently.

In his PEEPA 2015 annual report, Tshekiso said that a performance review of 15 commercial parastatals that was conducted during 2013/14 showed mixed results of performance with some parastatals achieving profitability, while others experienced major operating losses. “It is important to note that Corporate Governance is critical in ensuring that parastatals are run well and efficiently,” said Tshekiso.

According to the report, during the year 2013/14 seven parastatals recorded operating profits with the National Development Bank recording operating losses for the first time in number of years.

The loss was caused by the new banking system that was adopted during the period as well as the impairment of non-performing loans. Botswana Telecommunication Corporation Limited (BTCL) achieved lower results after the separation, which led to the formation of Botswana Fibre Network (BoFiNet).

The report also highlighted that Water Utilities’ (WUC) operating loss increased to P327 million in 2013/14 compared to P141 million in 2012/2013. These losses were mainly attributed to the challenges encountered as a result of the expanded mandate of WUC under the Water Sector Reforms. Air Botswana made an operating loss of P97 million in 2013/14 compared to a loss of P72 million in 2012/13.

Tshekiso said that PEEPA has developed a parastatal performance-monitoring tool aimed at enhancing shareholder Oversight over parastatals. “This tool will facilitate systematic monitoring of and reporting on parastatals performance. To enhance governance and promote good corporate principles, a number of parastatals have developed and adopted board Charters as one of their governance instruments,” said Tshekiso.

He added that a number of parastatals have drafted shareholder compacts and submitted them to their line ministries for finalisation. Furthermore Tshekiso said the implementation of the Public services Outsourcing Programme (PSOP) could not commence in 2014/15 due to budgetary constraints experienced by the procuring entities within ministries.

During the year PEEPA also carried out a review to determine the level at which ministries, government departments and local authorities have engaged the private sector in services approved for outsourcing since the PSOP started and other services that have potential for private sector participation.

A total of 138 contracts of outsourced services worth P761 million were awarded to the private sector during the financial year 2013/14.                                                                                                                       

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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The MidweekSun Admin



Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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