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Business Botswana media sectors calls for media levy

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Business Botswana media sector committee has motivated the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration through the Office of the President to introduce a media levy in Botswana.

The proposal which was routed through government’s spokesperson, Dr Jeff Ramsay sometime in October 2015, will amongst other things promote, sponsor, authorise, manage, control or cause to be arranged, organised, conducted, authorised or commissioned, the obtaining of all kinds of advertising research, media audience research, surveys, investigations and reports.

It will further publish media audience and product/brand research for the benefit of all stakeholders.Moreover, the levy will also assist in training for the industry, advocacy and awareness raising.

It is also expected to fund the Advertising Standards Authority, which would be a self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry in Botswana. Its role would be to regulate the content of advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing in Botswana by investigating complaints made about adverts, sales promotions or direct marketing, and deciding whether such advertising complies with its advertising standards codes.

The proposal was prepared by Thabo Majola, Vice Chairperson Business Botswana Media Sector.

Speaking to Midweek Sun recently, Dr Jeff Ramsay said that government welcomes the proposal. “There has been a discussion on such a concept for many years and this has come at a good time. We believe it will shape and develop the local media industry further. It is part of the High Level Consultative Council and it has to go through other stages until the final full report is given to the Minister,” said Ramsay.  

Majola told The Midweek Sun that the stakeholders are still discussing the modalities and details of the levy. “We are hoping that the levy will be introduced this year if things go as anticipated,” he added.

The proposal indicates that there is need in Botswana to have comprehensive, unbiased, reliable, regular and technically excellent survey. “Its purpose would be to provide data about the use of the mass media, and the consumption of products and services by users of the mass media.

The research data produced has to be comprehensive enough so that it could be used for target marketing and aid advertisers, and their advertising agencies in taking decisions about the selection of media for their advertising campaigns. Media owners have to be able to use the data to market their media, and for strategic editorial and programme planning,” reads part of the proposal.

There have in the past been attempts to report on the readership of newspapers and magazines and listenership of radio stations by way of surveys, which were commissioned by publishers themselves and BOCRA to large extent.

According to the proposal, “In order to best meet the requirements of users, it’s important that we conduct research that is jointly controlled by the advertisers, the advertising agencies and media owners. This would ensure complete acceptance of the survey data because it’s planning would be conducted impartially, and all interested parties would supervise the field work and report production.”

The proposed structure
An institute or Foundation needs to be set up. Proposed names are the Media Research Institute/Foundation.

The proposal is to then appoint Board of directors representing all interested stakeholders under the Business Botswana Media Sector and representatives from the Government. The board will be responsible for playing the oversight role and ensuring that all research is conducted and service providers are appointed in clear and transparent manner.

It will be the responsibility of the Executive Director and the board to approve the Institute or Foundation’s strategy and staffing requirements. The main mandate will be to ensure that the general public has access to proper research statistics and for the collection of the Levy from the various media houses.

How will the Media Research Institute/Foundation be funded?

The collection of the levy should be straight forward process. The funds will be collected by media owners on behalf of the industry. The proposal is to charge 1.5 percent levy on all advertising placed in Botswana.

The levy is calculated after all discounts and agency commissions have been deducted. The levy should be remitted on monthly basis. This can be discussed and agreed upon by all the members of the Business Botswana media sector.

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Gov’t swiftly acts on BMC

Koobonye Ramokopelwa

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Government has moved swiftly to place Botswana Meat Commission under the care of a management firm; the move is meant to put the Commission into shape both operationally and financially.

This was disclosed by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, further stating the BMC is technically insolvent despite having received nearly P1billion as a bailout in recent times. The new management company will run BMC, which is based in Lobatse starting on the 2020/2021 financial year.

The finance minister made it crystal clear that, the move to appoint a caretaker firm for BMC was made to protect the interests of all stakeholders, including farmers. According to Matsheka, the Minister of Agriculture Development and Food Security, Dr Edwin Dikoloti will provide more details on the BMC changes in due course during his committee of supply speech. Government is also proceeding with the conversion of BMC to a company under the Companies Act following the approval of BMC Transition Bill and subsequent repeal of the old Act.

The repealing of the BMC Act has since eliminated the monopoly of the Commission when it comes to beef and cattle export. The repeal has also enabled government to establish a beef regulator which will be responsible for regulating the beef and the cattle sector. “Another aspect of the transition is the ultimate privatization of BMC.

The objective of the privatization of BMC is, among others, to engage the private sector in the ownership and management of the BMC to achieve operational efficiency and profitability, as well as reduce Government’s future financial commitments in the entity. This would be an important process in the transformation of the beef and cattle sector,” noted Matsheka. BMC which is 100 percent owned by government has been operating with losses for many years due to internal and external challenges such as poor supply and Foot and Mouth Disease(FMD).

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BSE invite companies for CSD project

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Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has intentions to implement a new Central Securities Depository (CSD) system by the second quarter of next year.

Authorities at the bourse have already put out a call for companies to perform a post migration data verification and quality assessment from the current depository system to a new depository system set to go live in the first half of 2020.“As part of the project, the BSE is to migrate master data and reference data from the current system to the new CSD system,” said BSE in a statement released this week.

According to BSE, the project will include comprehension of the BSE Data Migration Strategy and Plan and data mapping design and rules, review of the data migration ETL processes, data quality verification completeness, accuracy, consistency, definition and scope of data to migrate. In addition, BSE said it will migrate only active or open transactions in the current system to the new system. The scope of open transactions includes active or running corporate actions, active investor accounts, investor account balances above zero, active participants, active issuers and active instruments.

Meanwhile, BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole is on record citing that the new CSD system comes with functionalities such as securities borrowing and lending (SBL), management of the settlement guarantee fund, initial public offering (IPO) processing, e-voting for listed entities, repo management and online investor access.

Commenced in the first quarter of 2019, the project is also an integral element of the ongoing single CSD project pioneered by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority and BSE.

The system is also expected to help increase the CSD system ratings by Thomas Murray, an assessment of which will be conducted once the system has been commissioned in early 2020.

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