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Govt to review park fees

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Govt to review park fees

Government’s department of Wildlife and National Parks is considering reviewing and grading the country’s protected areas with the view of increasing entrance fees and improving service delivery in the national parks.

The department’s Director, Cyril Taolo explained they further want to decrease congestion in the riverfront along the Okavango Delta and control traffic as a way of protecting Botswana’s environment and natural resources.

“There is need to maintain our parks and manage visitors. We have found that more visitors prefer the riverfront and if we increase fees and differentiate visiting schedules we are hoping we will decrease congestion,” he said.

By December, Taolo intends to have sent recommendations to government for consideration ahead of the next financial year, which begins April 2020.

Currently his team is going around the country holding consultative workshops on what needs to be done in terms of developing management of protected areas and setting park fees.

Taolo noted that the country has not changed its fees in 19 years, with its charges the lowest in the region, not only in its parks but borders as well.

Botswana currently charges P10 entrance fees for citizens and P120 for foreigners in its parks.

Additionally, according to Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BioFin), the country is the most lenient when it comes to free entry of young children.

Whilst other countries charge children from three years of age, Botswana admits eight year olds for free.

BioFin suggests Botswana is not making enough money through its parks to cover the expenditure in related areas, including dealing with problem animals and salaries.

Taolo shares a similar sentiment, stressing that 60percent of the annual budget they receive from government goes to salaries alone.

Thus he strongly believes thatby increasing fees in the parks the country can reap from its natural resources.

“A lot needs to be done to revamp our tourism destinations. Government needs to put automated systems in place to make it easier for our clients to book, as well as make their experience enjoyable and memorable,” he stated, adding that at the same time the review of prices should not hit hard on the pockets of locals as the aim is to encourage them to equally access and enjoy their parks.

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Business

Letlole La Rona suspends CEO

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Letlole La Rona (LLR), a property company listed on the Botswana Stock Limited (BSEL), on Tuesday moved to suspend its Chief Executive Officer, Chikuni Shenjere-Mutiswa.

His suspension, according to a notice to shareholders, follows preliminary findings arising from an investigation into issues relating to the company’s Long-term Incentive Plan.

Mutiswa who was appointed LLR CEO in June 2018, is said to have been suspended with full benefits pending the outcome of the full investigations.

Commenting on the latest developments, LLR Board Chairperson, Boitumelo Mogopa noted good governance remains sacrosanct to the board and all staff of the company.

“The preliminary findings of the possible misconduct arising from the investigations relate to the circumstances around the company’s Long-term Incentive Plan during or around March this year and possible acts or omissions by an individual in a unique position of power,” said Mogopa.

Mogopa said this by no means reflects the integrity of the board, financial performance and company portfolio.

“For us, it remains business as usual as the due process takes its course,” said Mogopa.

Meanwhile, the board has in the interim appointed Botshelo Mokotedi to hold the fort on an acting basis while investigations continue.

Mokotedi is seconded from Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) – a major shareholder in LLR – where he is the Head of Risk.

He is described as a forward-thinking, highly motivated and results-oriented individual with more than a decade experience in the financial services sector across a variety of senior roles, including Business Development, Credit Analysis as well as Portfolio and Risk Management.

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COVID-19 relief fund gets a boost

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COVID-19 relief fund gets a boost

Limkokwing University, Caltex donate over P1. 2 million

Various companies and organizations on Wednesday donated over P1.2 million to the Covid-19 Relief Fund.

Among those who contributed to the fund was Astron Energy Botswana, a leading supplier of petroleum products that operates Caltex filling stations.

COVID-19 relief fund gets a boost
RECEIVING DONATIONS: Vice President Tsogwane accepts a donation from Caltex (Astron Energy)

Presenting a P100 000 cheque donation to the Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, Astron Energy Chief Executive Officer, Bruce Buno noted that given the spirit of unity displayed by Batswana during this difficult time, the country will prevail against the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We continue to recognise the priceless need to comply with all regulations to ensure that we do our part through our storage depot operations and our network of Caltex branded filling stations,” said Buno.

The biggest contributor of the day, however, was, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT), who handed over a P1.2 million dummy cheque towards the relief Fund.

COVID-19 relief fund gets a boost
BIG CONTRIBUTION: Limkokwing University of Creative Technology donates big to the COVID-19 Relief Fund

The institution’s Head of Public Relations, Mercy Thebe highlighted that the donation was a personal contribution from the University founder and President, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Limkokwing.

Thebe also noted that the P1.2 million consisted of P500, 000 cash, P300, 000 worth of creative content, P200, 000 worth of face masks and a scholarship to the underprivileged for the 2020 Academic Year.

Other organizations that contributed to the fund included the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM), which gave P105, 000, the Muslim Association of Botswana Molepolole branch with P56, 550, Southern District Beef Producers Association which donated P50, 000 and Taurus Batteries who put P150, 000 in the kitty.

Receiving the donations, Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane thanked all the organizations for bolstering government relief efforts to fight the Covid-19 by donating generously to the fund.

“It is symbolic in the sense that it reminds us that the war is still on,” said the VP, adding that by making these generous donations, both individuals and organizations are contributing towards winning the fight against the pandemic.

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