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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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‘Manufacturing holds key to economic growth’

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Barclays bank’s economist Naledi Madala has urged the country to consider manufacturing, as a key tailwind to drive the economy and reduce inequality.

She was speaking at a gathering organised by the bank which focused on economic outlook for 2019. “We should not make a mistake of leapfrogging without manufacturing,” said Madala, lamenting that the country’s diversification remains a pipeline dream, as the diamond is still the economy’s mainstay. She bemoaned that mining activities in the country could not spring forward diversification, though non-mining GDP has been steady over the years.

“Extractive industries are not good stepping stones for diversification, the sector does not prepare us for the next step,” said Madala at the Barclays’ Economic Outlook Forum Review 2019. The economist further noted that government should confront head-on challenges of productivity and competitiveness to attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Though diversification efforts continue to hit a brick wall, Madala said the country should expect increased activities in the mining sector hinged to ramp up in coal production in the year ahead.

She also implored government to consider a welcoming attitude towards foreign investors and generous tax incentives to businesses that set up in the country. Madala is also upbeat that the use of public private partnership model could also help diversify the economy coupled with privitisation. “Privitisation will offer opportunities for growth, through the renewed optimism from government, as business confidence has improved,” said Madala.

She implored the government and the business community to access what is going to drive and hinder growth highlighting that key headwinds to growth are income inequality, diversification challenge and productivity, among others. “The pace of poverty reduction has slowed down, while income inequality goes up,” said Madala

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MINISTER BEWAILS BAD REPAYMENT BY YOUTH

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has told parliament his ministry continues to face challenges on the repayment of Youth Development Fund (YDF) loans.

Recently presenting the budget to Parliament, Khama said this financial year the ministry has received a total of 2582 YDF applications and approved 983of them to the value of P98 million. He said the programme attracts a high level of interest from youth but the ministry is only limited to funding a maximum of 1200 youth projects annually due to budget limitations.

“However the greatest challenge for the Fund is the repayment of the loan component by the majority of the youth businesses. The youth have advanced number of challenges for this including high rentals for operating spaces, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities,” said Tshekedi, adding that they continue to pursue beneficiaries to repay the loans.

Out of the 919 businesses funded 1058 jobs have been created. The minister highlighted that disbursements of funds will continue to be undertaken until the end of the financial year. “The YDF is currently under review in line with the pronouncement made by the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in the State of the Nation Address, to improve beneficiaries through training, and encourage consortia and cooperatives,” said Tshekedi.

The ministry assists YDF beneficiaries in marketing their products and services through fairs and exhibitions. The ministry also runs entrepreneurship-training seminars for youth and in the past year 3692 young people were trained. Over 600 youth businesses attended fairs and exhibitions to market their products and services. Currently the ministry is collaborating with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), First National Bank Botswana and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) on training in entrepreneurship development and mentorship of YDF beneficiaries.

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