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SHHA challenges threaten house delivery

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Botswana Housing Corporation has outlined challenges faced by its Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) turnkey project.

The project, which has, since been moved from the Councils to BHC three years ago, has now delivered about 796 houses to beneficiaries while 80 are at finishing stages and 33 are at various stages of completion.

In an interview with Business Trends last week, Corporate Communications Manager, Tebogo Mmokele said the SHHA Turnkey programme faces quite a number of challenges.

These include “abandonment of projects by some contractors before they are completed; challenges with access to materials by some contractors and some areas do not have suppliers, which contributes to delays; some plots are not ready for construction which also ends up delaying projects; limited involvement by beneficiaries during the construction of their houses and some fail to provide storage and water for construction, which delays the projects.

“He said that when the contractor abandons a project, the corporation appoints another one; adding that, “we however can take them to task or terminate depending on the circumstances.” Contractors are however paid upon completion of stages.

Mmokele indicated that BHC is committed to engaging all stakeholders such as beneficiaries, local authorities and contractors to deal with these challenges and ensure that projects are delivered accordingly as per the expectations of the government.

Asked about capacity, resources and timeous delivery, Mmokele noted that BHC is capacitated enough to run SHHA turnkey projects. “This is evidenced by some projects which were recently completed on time and on schedule in places such as the North East, Ghanzi, Maun and Moshupa/Manyana.

We are hopeful that more projects will be delivered on time in the future,” he added.

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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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