The Botswana Dry Port facility in Namibia’s Walvis Bay faces the hurdle of diverting traffic volumes from the port of Durban in South Africa and luring it to the dry port through the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC).
Sea Rail Dry Port General Manager Derick Mokgatle bared all during a media tour of the facility in Namibia regarding their role in facilitating trade links using the dry port.
The Sea Rail Dry Port – a wholly owned subsidiary of Botswana Railways (BR) -was established in 2013 when the Botswana Government acquired 36 200 square metres leased land from Namibian government at a cost of P400 million. It was first constructed in 2013 at a cost of about P50 million and started operations in 2014.
It is intended to be an alternative route for commodities for Botswana and other regional countries to improve trade efficiency. It will also diversify Botswana Railways’ portfolio.
Mokgatle said that they are lobbying government to have parastatals utilise the dry port and even have it in clauses for tendering. Another challenge is the lack of rail linkage. Mokgatle believes that as they continue to lure in more volumes into the port it will improve the business case for construction of Trans Kalahari Railway.
But sadly, they have not yet developed warehousing facilities and cold storage. He said the benefits of the port are that it is congestion free and that their fees are reasonable. At present, they are targeting the Botswana Defence Force, Botswana Meat Commission and others to utilise the port. Executive Director at (TKC) Leslie Mpofu said their role is to facilitate trade in terms of exports and imports. Mpofu said the benefits of transport corridors are to enhance regional and global value chain and production networks.
He explained that one of their strategic theme is to secure high level security on the TKC which will eventually increase the efficiency in trade. Poor road safety and security standards are also some of the barriers to trade. He said they will have truck ports in areas such as Sekoma and Lobatse where drivers can rest and refresh before they continue with their journey.
They also intend to review and implement the service charter between government agencies and stakeholders. “We aim to accelerate economic integration, development and enhance stakeholder capacity” said Mpofu
Gov’t swiftly acts on BMC
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).
BSE invite companies for CSD project
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.