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BotswanaPost in negative equity position

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BotswanaPost’s financial results for the period ended 31st March 2015, released this week is a tale of two halves.

In one half there are the negatives such as the overall loss-making performance and there are some major positives that augur well for the achievement of a sustained turnaround going forward, in the other half.

The company’s total revenues increased by some 29 percent to P430million driven by business services (86 percent), courier and logistic (154 percent), Express Mail Services (25 percent) and philately (100 percent).

Most significantly, administrative cost lines were lower than in the prior year. However, the cost of sales grew faster than revenue at 34 percent. This translated into slightly squeezed margins and therefore overall results are down, with the loss for the year rising from P33.8million to P47million.

Board Chairman, Polokoetsile Motau said there were no real surprises in the financial results for the year under review. “While actual numbers could be described as disappointing given the unfortunate increase in the size of the bottom line loss, they do not reflect the significant progress that has been made towards our transformation from a traditional postal operation into an advanced, diversified service provider”.  

Transport and Communications minister has encourgared the company over the years to diversify in order to sustain its operations as a business, whilst at the same time continuing to meet its obligations of providing traditional mail service.

This has seen the government who is the company’s major shareholder not injecting money to the parastatal.

Under the former Chief Executive Officer, Pele Moleta who left the parastatal sometime in 2015, the company developed a five year journey to excellence strategy which draws to a close in March 2016.

Motau feels that transformation however, requires significant financial resources, which the company as an operational entity currently does not have. “Depleted cashflows, coupled with a resultant loss in interest earned, also placed restrictions on the amount of prepaid electricity and bulk mobile phone airtime we were able to purchase in order to resell to consumers; and this had a negative impact on our revenues.”

As a result, Motau said “it is clear that we need to engage a lot more with shareholders in order for them to inject the capital required so as to move out of our current negative equity situation.”

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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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