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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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Matambo calls on financial sector to pick GDP



Finance Minister, kenneth Matambo

Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo has announced that government is committed to support financial service sector to prop up the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Currently contributing over 13 percent to GDP, Matambo said the sector has potential to increase its share. “Hence government’s interest in the sector,” said Matambo addressing delegates at the inaugural Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), Global Financial Summit.

The country has built a strong, resilient and fast growing financial sector underpinned by a robust regulatory framework. The finance minister who is expected to step down next year, noted that government’s commitment to the financial service sector has this year been buttressed by a number of laws passed in July relating to money laundering activities.

In addition, Matambo said the continued investment in the development of information, communication and technologies (ICTs) backbone infrastructure is also to support local banks’ rising appetite for online services.

The Minister said the country remains committed to maintaining micro-economic stability to spur private sector participation in the economy. “Our vision is to become a high income country by 2036,” said Matambo, challenging the private sector to step forward and help government to develop the country, bemoaning the low levels of financial inclusion and shallow domestic capital markets.

He said the private sector should come up with more initiatives to develop further the local capital markets. The Minister’s sentiments were also shared by Martin Davies, Managing Director for Emerging Markets and Africa at Deloitte who has challenged the country to start dealing with its low manufacturing value add.

“How do we start to diversify beyond the single commodity economy,” quizzed Davies, adding that manufacturing increase is vital for low inequality across the country.

“Inequality results in bad public policy, as the state starts to believe and think they have to intervene more,” said Davies, highlighting that the country needs to move away from the absolute concept of state drive growth. Meanwhile, minister Matambo has applauded the private sector for leading economic dialogue in the country through events such as the BIHL Global Finance Summit.

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First Lady advises women entrepreneurs

Keikantse Lesemela



First lady, Neo Masisi

First Lady, Neo Masisi has urged women entrepreneurs to bring change in the economic development of the country and the rest of Africa.

Speaking during the Lioness Lean in Africa breakfast on Friday, Masisi said women entrepreneurs are remarkable engines of economic growth and job creation. “I believe women entrepreneurs hold incredible potential and credentials on the continent because Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world.

It is projected that millions of much needed jobs will be created over the next decade and these will be created predominantly through small businesses which are mostly run by women,” said Masisi.She highlighted that women entrepreneurs are also the most powerful engine for equitably distributing growth and they are also solutions for addressing inequality on the continent.

“It is a proven fact that for many generations, women understand the simple concept of barter and commerce. These are the role models of our past and our present and they will continue to inspire new generations to do more for business to grow,” she said.

The Lioness Lean In Breakfast Series brings together inspirational and successful women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect with the next generation of great women-led start-ups.

The platform is based on a breakfast networking and speaker presentation format, which has been organized in locations across the African continent for the past year by Lionesses of Africa, empowering over one million women entrepreneurs across the continent.

Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Personal Markets, Omphemetse Dube said they are pleased to bring the Lionesses of Africa Lean In platform to Botswana once again to bring together women entrepreneurs in the country and help to nurture their growth further.

“Botswana is blessed with a number of thriving female entrepreneurs, and the potential for the next generation of talent is strong. Platforms such as this are therefore paramount in growing the cause and we as a bank are proud to help champion that movement further,” said Dube.

Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa,Melanie Hawken noted that Gaborone is a growing and exciting centre for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa. “This is a must-attend event for women entrepreneurs in the country as it gives them the opportunity to hear the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of women who are building great businesses here,” she said.

The annual Lionesses of Africa event allows entrepreneurs to benefit from the insights and advice of women entrepreneurs who have seen and experienced it all and to also provide an excellent opportunity for networking.

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