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BICA seeks to strengthen regulatory framework

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BICA seeks to strengthen regulatory framework

Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), which regulates the country’s accounting profession, promises improved quality in its financial reports as it seeks to strengthen the output of local accountants.

This was revealed by Technical and Public Sector Accounting Director at BICA, Eddie Bayen, speaking during a consultative meeting with banking and non-banking financial institutions through the week.

“You will find that the output of accountants will increase because this was one area in which regulation has been silent,” predicted Bayen, explaining that people were not sure if their accountants were actually required to meet any particular standard.

With the enforcement of these reviews, BICA has covered a significant proportion of those that offer services to the public in ensuring that they meet a certain level of quality.

Bayen emphasised that accountants are key to corporate governance structures and play a critical role in public interest protection.

“That is why we have these two bodies, BICA which regulates the profession, and Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA) which essentially ensures that the profession provides key services that meet certain standards that it sets to ensure the protection of public interest,” he explained.

According to Bayen, BAOA strives to ensure accountants provide the right quality of services by monitoring all audit practices, including the Public Interest Entity (PIE) auditors and Non-Public Interest Entity auditors.

“They monitor financial reporting – whether accountants are offering financial reports that are relevant, that have the right level of quality that meet international standards and which quality decisions can be based on,” he highlighted, adding that the Authority essentially monitors corporate governance.

To distinguish the roles of the two bodies, Bayen explained BAOA focuses on what BICA does and ensures the accounting profession provides quality services by monitoring the various services offered.

“BICA’s role then is to ensure that the accounting profession has quality people,” he added.

He further noted there are two determining factors within the profession: the quality of the people in the profession and the quality of the services they provide.

Bayen warned that when one is qualified for the accounting profession it does not necessarily mean they will apply themselves to ensure they deliver good quality services.

“That is why we need BAOA to come in and also look at the auditors and make sure that they have the right level of quality. BICA then regulates the accountants, auditors and member firms and enforces the code of ethics and the Accountants Act,” he concluded.

Speaking at the consultation, Technical and Public Sector Accounting Manager, Mosireletsi Mogotlhwane stressed that when Accountants Act was amended and implemented in 2010, it made it clear that no accountant should provide accounting services in their individual capacity, apart from if they are working for an organisation.

This was introduced to make regulation easier because it was though it would be more straight-forward to regulate accountants when they are working for an organisation.

Email: Kabelo@thevoicebw.com
Twitter: @Kabelo_Adamson

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Experts discuss opportunities at BNYC TV/film festival

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Experts discuss opportunities at BNYC TV/film festival

Local creatives and students alike gathered at the University of Botswana Indoor Sports arena this past Saturday to hear from film industry experts and trend setters at the annual Botswana National Youth Council TV and film festival.

Held under the theme, mobilizing partnerships for the development of the local TV/ film industry, the event was officially opened by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Sport and Culture Development, Kago Ramokate.

In his opening remarks Ramokate said, “The intention of the festival is to facilitate the participation of young people pertaining to the role of the local TV/ film industry in developing Botswana’s economy and in creating sustainable jobs for our youth. This festival also serves as a vehicle to capacitate Botswana youth and youth serving organizations, to enable them to take advantage of international trends and opportunities in the film industry.”

The discussion comprising Duma Ndlovu – who is the executive producer of award winning soapie Muvhango, Ralph “Stagga Don Dada” Williams – associate producer in the United Kingdom, Entertainment lawyer in the United States Carlos Pimentel as well as Thato Thebe of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology discussed, “The Power of Collaborations in accessing the international markets”.

“Botswana has a lack of entertainment lawyers and that’s something we have to rectify immediately. And it starts with education, so we have to engage with academia to make sure to integrate legal education into the classroom. One-Way is for the students to empower themselves, to lead that movement,” said Pimentel who went on to explain that the basis of survival of any collaboratory business is the understanding of the legalities involved.

The last panel consisting of Dr. Kennedy Ramojela, University of Botswana, Presley Chweneyagae of The River, Chef Joseph Seeletso, and Maxwell Dichi of Muvhango discussed, “The Available Opportunities for On-Screen Talent”.

“If I am sitting somewhere maybe in Mozambique and I’ve never been to Botswana and there’s a film that shows the Okavango or a place in Ramotswa, then I’ll get curious and say ‘I must go and see this place’ Those are some of the things that the screen does to help us economically to develop our tourism and our businesses, ”said Presley as he shed some light on how on screen opportunities could still create more opportunities in business.

In an interview with Voice Entertainment after the discussion, Ndlovu boldly told the publication that, “I think producers and stakeholders should really try and find partners from outside, first of all to produce content for Batswana but also to make it commercial so it can go to other markets and that’s important.”

Asked how local television content and film producers could penetrate the relatively small Botswana market, Ndlovu said “the world is crying for international content so we all need to rush to try and position ourselves. It’s not like before when Hollywood had a front row seat. Now we can also reach through streaming platforms. There is so much where we can share our content, and it’s no longer as expensive as it used to be.”

The film festival is on its second year and continues to attract attention of local creatives evident by the growing turn out each year.

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Botswana to benefit from Kaza

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Botswana to benefit from Kaza

Land rover experience tour

The 13th edition of the Land Rover Experience Tour (LET) 2019, which kicked off on 31st October reached Botswana on Monday.

The expedition team (47 in number) arrived at Elephant Sands where the Botswana Tourism Organisation hosted a “Welcome to Botswana” dinner for them before they proceeded to Shakawe, Kasane and eventually Johannesburg.

The tour, is a partnership between the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) Secretariat and Land Rover Germany, with support from KAZA’s five partner States of Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Angola and Zimbabwe.

Though established to demonstrate the extreme durability of Land Rover vehicles through challenging off-road adventures, the tour leader Dag Rogge said the experience is also beneficial to the KAZA States as the world gets to know more about the five countries through a collection of professionally taken photographs.

“Land Rover Germany will also produce a short film from this off-road adventure which will be shared with the rest of the world,” he said.

Rogge further said the experience which since 2000 has stood for breath-taking imagery and the discovery of foreign cultures will help position KAZA as a leading nature, cultural heritage, adventure and ‘off-the-beaten track’ tourism destination in Africa.

“The experience will further develop cross border tourism offerings through the main expedition and subsequent leisure tours. Perhaps to demonstrate the extent and reach of visibility harnessed from KAZA as a direct result of the expedition, a promotional video published on YouTube by Land Rover Germany in advance of the expedition in November 2018 has been viewed over 3.3 million times.

Welcoming the team at Elephant Sands on Monday evening BTO Acting Chief Executive Officer Tafa Tafa said the KAZA Land Rover Experience Tour will open many opportunities for the nation.

Botswana to benefit from Kaza
HAVING A LIGHT MOMENT: Tafa and Rogge

Tafa said the crew has been travelling roads less travelled in the country, which will in turn give the terrains the much needed attention.

He said this will further open up new activities and routes for people to come and enjoy.

He welcomed the initiative and commended Land Rover for organising such an expedition.

“We hope to get feedback from all of you about your experiences here, which we’ll then use to sell Botswana as an adventure country,” he said.

Tafa further told the team that they should count themselves amongst the luckiest since they drove into the country and saw clearly what the country has to offer.

“Most people fly in and out of the country, but you drove in and you got to see the country’s changing landscapes and the wildlife,” he said.

The tour is generally expected to increase the profile of the KAZA TFCA and its tourism offerings.

It is further expected to raise awareness on transboundary destinations and products in the region, showcase identified nature, biodiversity and community development initiatives and show KAZA as a premier tourism destination for regional and international markets.

This expedition is further expected to foster expansion of the Land Rover Adventure Travel Programme.

Currently, Land Rover Germany offers exclusive trips to Namibia and Botswana.

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SADC Regional Agricultural Policy to enhance access to markets

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SADC Regional Agricultural Policy to enhance access to markets

One of the major aspects which the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional Agricultural Policy is expected to address in the medium to long-term is access to markets within the region.

This was said by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Agricultural Development and Food Security, Jimmy Opelo this week during the launch of the European Union (EU) funded SADC-FAO project.

The project’s main focus is to provide support towards the operationalization of the SADC regional agricultural policy.

This is in addition to creating sustainable agricultural growth and socio-economic development due to enhanced production, competitiveness and improved regional and international trade.

“One of the things that sometimes we become oblivious to is that, once production and all other things have been done, is what’s next and it is the market and we need to also have the same information as far as sharing the markets concerned,” said the P.S.

Opelo says Botswana has ambitions of digitalizing its economy and as such information communication technology is considered an enabler in this process.

“It is against this backdrop that this project is in line with Botswana’s ambitions of enhancing information on agricultural production,” the P.S said, adding the project seeks to implement an effective agricultural information management system to guide policy makers and all other players to take appropriate decisions.

The project will allow timely collection, analysis and communication of information on any warnings of disaster and risks and monitoring of vulnerability and food security in the region.

“All of it I aimed at ensuring that we keep to our promise of sustainable agriculture and improved food security,” Opelo said.

Opelo revealed there is also a provision which states that there is some form of financial assistance which comes along with this project.

According to the P.S, the agricultural sector contributes between 4 percent and 27 percent of GDP across the SADC member states.

“The SADC region is rich in livestock and crop resources, but unfortunately with animals’ diseases and crop pests it is necessary that as a regional bloc we are in this together.”

Dr Rene Czudek, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in Botswana says the policy was crafted to develop and advance agriculture in the SADC region.

“The policy was approved in June 2013 by the SADC council of ministers,” stated Czudek, further adding that the implementation of the policy should be supported by the SDAC Regional Agricultural Investment Plan of 2017-2022 that developed under the technical assistance of FAO.

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