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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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LEA partners with Ministry for youth businesses

Keikantse Lesemela

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Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, (MYESCD) has partnered with the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) to create a pool of competitive and sustainable youth businesses.

Through the partnership, business management and mentoring services will be provided to the Youth Development Fund (YDF) beneficiaries to enhance their efficiency and capacity to manage and sustain their businesses.Speaking during the signing ceremony MYESCD Deputy Permanent Secretary, Kago Ramokate said the ministry has always had a challenge with lack of expertise mentorship to young entrepreneurs so partnership with LEA will assist the ministry to effectively deliver its mandate.

“Training and mentorship has been a challenge for us because our officers mostly do not have business background so this partnership will address this,” said Ramokate.In his remarks, LEA Chief Executive, Racious Moatshe said the partnership is paramount to achieve government initiative of creating a pool of competitive and sustainable Small Medium and Micro Enterprises that will significantly contribute towards the diversification of the economy. It is also expected to meaningfully impact local communities through employment creation and import substitution.

“We want to ensure that youth businesses are run properly with proper funding. Both institutions will jointly conduct research that has direct impact on scaling up of youth owned businesses in Botswana,” said Moatshe.

He said over 2 500 youth businesses have received LEA intervention. “We want to see more youth businesses succeed”. Meanwhile, the ministry has been urged to come up with a better strategy to effectively deliver the YDF program and produce successful youth businesses. According to the Auditor General’s report for the past year, Pulane Letebele pointed out that the operation of the fund was highly unsatisfactory because of lack of proper monitoring and mentoring of the beneficiaries, financed from the Fund on a 50 percent grant 50 percent loan basis.

The Auditor General complained that two years after the Public Accounts Committee called for a stream lining of the Fund’s accounting system to allow for proper debtor accounting, nothing has been done.The 2015 Auditor General’s report has revealed that all five regions that had been selected for audits during the year show that the fund has failed. “In Maun about P20 million was disbursed in loans and only P400 000 has been paid while P640 000 was the total of arrears covering the entire period from inception of the fund in 2009,” reads the report.

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Ex Debswana boss counsels graduates

Keikantse Lesemela

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Speaking at the graduation ceremony of Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) on Saturday, former Managing Director of Debswana, Balisi Bonyongo said graduates and citizens need to position themselves to develop a clear technology and innovation strategy and roadmap that would enable the nation’s transformation into a knowledge-based economy.

“We need to create an entrepreneurship centre that would bring industry and the college together, to form a powerful force that would co-create breakthrough solutions capable of diversifying our country’s economy,” said Bonyongo.

The college released 645 graduates from different fields on Saturday. Since inception 22 years ago over 11 000 professionals graduated from the school. Bonyongo highlighted that graduates should approach problems creatively to provide sustainable, scalable and exponential solutions that could yield tremendous economic value.

“I urge all graduates to leverage technology and innovation to deliver practical solutions to society’s most urgent problems. Use your qualifications to seize opportunities to do what you love and enjoy,” said Bonyongo.

BAC Executive Director, Serty Leburu said between 2017 and 2018 they have experienced growth in the number of new students both full time and part time. “This mark of quality has inspired us to spread our wings and expand into other markets through various collaboration models,” she said.

Leburu revealed that they are currently in the process to introduce online learning to effectively support part-time students as well as provide some programs digitally. The college has partnered with several international universities including, University of Derby, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sunderland and SAP University Alliance as well as Microsoft and the Cisco Academy.

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