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Parastatals urged to appoint competent Board members

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Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA) Chief Executive Officer, Duncan Majinda, says Board members who do not have the right skills and balance result in a poor Board that lacks experience to take parastatals to another level.

Majinda expressed this on Monday this week, when speaking at the Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) seminar, meant to foster the participation and collaboration between various stakeholders and promote Corporate Governance. He said parastatals should take the private sector route in order to be productive.

He worries that parastatals take an organisation with lots of ex-officio members, and do not consider whether people have the right skills to run the corporation. Majinda says the private sector have the nomination board that looks at the skills required and make decisions on the right people for the board, in contrast to parastatals, which do not have nomination boards because they are determined by the ministries.

“The other problem is advertising board positions which in most cases the relevant people do not apply, and from ministry the cabinet decides on the Board and this is where we miss it,” he says adding that compared with private sector there is a gap in parastatals. Majinda cited that Board fees are also a challenge with parastatals. “The Board fees for the private sector are huge.

They are paid about P10, 000 a meeting, but for parastatals the Board fees are so low. As a result good Board with skills would not want to go to parastatals unless they want to volunteer. They will go to the private sector which pays a lot,” says Majinda.

He says that parastatals also do not do well with Board evaluations, they are done because they are required to do them. They don’t use them for the purpose for which they are meant. “Evaluations for the board and to look at the individual member’s contributions and see how effective they are then decide whether their term should be renewed is crucial; but parastatals do not do that.

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OLOPENG HEAPS PRAISE ON BSE FINANCE CHALLENGE

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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WE ARE NOT USING DIAMONDS TO KILL ELEPHANTS, THAT’S HOGWASH! – BOTSWANA MINISTER

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Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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