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BotswanaPost urged to advertise stamps at airports

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The Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama has urged the Botswana Post to start advertising Botswana’s heritage through stamps at the local airports.

Speaking at the BotswanaPost’s new “save Botswana Vultures’ stamp launch this Monday, Khama said instead of walking into Sir Siretse Khama International Airport and seeing billboards advertisements of international companies, BotswanaPost should rather take the lead in advertising its stamps on Botswana.

I call on you to start enlarging your stamps and putting them on billboards at these airports and other advertising areas. Ga re batle go bona bo Komatsu le tse dingwe re tsena ka airport ya rona. Show that you are proud of our own national heritage,” he said.

Khama said he shall motivate in his own way that the Post office continues to be supported, adding that it would be recognition of the valuable and strategic support and positioning that BotswanaPost plays in the economy of this country.

“Our Ministries (MEWT, and Transport and Communications Ministry (MTC)) need to identify where we can incorporate BotswanaPost and MTC in the fabric of these activities, to ensure maximum impact and mutual benefit to our respective mandates.

It is through efforts of BotswanaPost, through its Philately programme that we will be able to brand and communicate about our unique and rich heritage, our diverse bio-environment. It is a story worth telling, and stamps are certainly playing an active and excellent role in that regard,” Khama said.

He went onto add that Vultures have a very central role in maintaining the delicate balance of the world ecosystems. They play an active role in the food chain, aiding the cleaning of the environment ensuring that the process of circulating nutrients back to the earth continues.

It is through man’s activities that these fine magnificent birds are facing extinction. The Post Office, he said is a key component of the communication eco-system, facing the same challenges.

BotswanaPost Board Chairman, Polokoetsile Motau revealed that, one area that has seen remarkable growth in the past two years is Philately. “In the past, a year could go by with at most one stamp issue being released and at times none at all.

This means that we have missed both business opportunities and our moral duty as a party to a group of Botswana national heritage conservationists. In the last two years, the revamped philately programme managed to release five stamp issues in a year,” he said.

According to Motau, this stamp programme is part of the ‘Reinvigorating Philately’ initiative which aims at positioning BotswanaPost Philatelic Bureau as one of the best in the international market.

He added that they are  not only happy to use their stamps for conservationism efforts but also as a platform to enable the local talented artists across the nation to leverage their skills to  sell the beauty that is  Botswana, and in the process gain a meaningful living.

The vulture stamp marks the fourth Commemorative Issue of the year 2015, after Okavango Delta Heritage Listing, Abstract Art in Botswana and African Buffalo in Botswana and followed by Vervet Monkey in Botswana.

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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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