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BDC revenue improves

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Botswana’s main agency for commercial and industrial development – Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) – has for the financial year 2014/15 posted impressive results recording 29 percent growth in revenue.

The corporation headed by Bashi Gaetsaloe who took over from Mariah Nthebolan posted total revenue of P194.4 million from P150.4 million made in the previous financial year.

Presenting the results to the media this Tuesday, Acting Chief Finance Officer, Maranyane Makhondo, said in addition to the 29 percent posted at a company level, the group’s revenue also showed an increase of 19 percent from P286.7million in the previous year to P339.9million in 2015.

Makhondo went onto reveal that, in the year under review, the company profit before tax increased to P109.8million following a loss of P67million in the prior year. At the group level, profit before tax grew to P247.3 million from P35.7million in the prior year.

During the same period expenses reduced by 28 percent at company level and by 41 percent at group level showing a commitment to running a leaner and more efficient organisation.

The corporation’s results come on the back of its wide-reaching transformation programme, which included not only a review on the corporation’s processes, structures and policies, but also a restructuring of its balance sheet through divestment strategy. The divestment strategy targets non-strategic assets and a turnaround programme, which targets non-performing investments.

Managing Director Gaetsaloe commented that this growth was largely driven by unwavering commitment to executing the company’s five-year strategy. “Part of that is execution of our transformation to allow the business to tackle the prevailing market conditions, as well as risk management capability across BDC,” he said.

Gaetsaloe however indicted that the journey to profitability is still at an early stage as the corporation is yet to overcome the challenges. Some of these challenges include amongst others; non-performing assets and non-strategic assets and high cost of capital especially in developmental projects.

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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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