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Moo-ving the youth into farming

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Moo-ving the youth into farming

NDB opens loans for techno savvy youth

In a bid to attract the younger generation into farming, Botswana National Development Bank (NDB) has launched a six-month product promotion for its Temo Bokamoso and Ntlhatlosa Agri loans.

The loans make up an integral part of the bank’s Letsema strategy, which is to run from 2019 to 2023 and is driven towards enabling young people to play an active role in farming.

Launching the products at the bank’s Maun office on Friday, NDB CEO,LoratoMorapedi, said, “As NDB we understand that youth are techno savvy.

“In line with our Letsema strategy, we will support and facilitate their participating in this sector through what they like the most, that is, technology and innovation such as the development of Apps, drone farming and green farming.”

Morapedi highlighted that with the youth making up to 60 percent of the country’s population, NDB realised it has to interest them in borrowing from it to develop their agriculture businesses.

“We are alive to the fact that our customers are the most vital of our business and are the reason for our existence. Therefore we would like to consistently build innovative, yet sustainable products because we believe that together we can create a booming agriculture sector,” she said, adding they believe agriculture has not been explored to its full potential due to lack of innovation and interest from the younger generation.

“Thus NDB feels it has to transform farming projects into massive commercial establishments and put agriculture where it deserves to be, which is right at the top!”

Ideally, NDB wants to revolutionise the farming industry into a more viable economic player and give young people an opportunity to grow into multinational suppliers.

As part of the bank’s campaign, one lucky customer will win P50, 000 worth of solar equipment of their choice to use at their farm.

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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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Business

Inflation increases in April

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Inflation increases in April

Cities and towns experience rising rates

The latest figures from Statistics Botswana (SB) show that the annual inflation rate in April registered a slight increase.

Inflation for the month stood at 2.5 percent, up 0.3 percent from the 2.2 percent recorded in March.

However, SB stressed that data collection for the month was hampered by the on-going lockdown, enforced on 3 April.

The restriction on movement meant data collection for prices was primarily conducted through emails and telephone calls.

In the end, the data collected covered only 70 percent of goods in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket.

The most affected items in the basket were alcoholic beverages and tobacco – the sale of which is temporarily suspended – and clothing and footwear, as outlets were closed during the month of April.

The closure of such shops reportedly resulted in a number of missing or unobserved prices, which were imputed through variation of the observed prices.

According to SB, the biggest contributors to the April annual inflation rate were: housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, which went up by 1.1 percentage points, and food and non-alcoholic beverages, which increased by 0.4 percent.

By regions, the inflation rates between March and April indicates that cities and towns increased by 0.4 of a percentage point, rising from 2.3 percent to 2.7.

Rural villages’ rates rose from 2.0 percent to 2.3 percent while urban villages’ rates similarly registered an increase of 0.3 percentage point to 2.6 percent.

When addressing local media on Tuesday this week, the Competitions and Consumer Authority CEO, Tebelelo Pule said the Authority observed an increase in consumer good prices when the effects of Covid-19 started to be felt locally.

“Prices increased in an unusual manner which disturbed us as the Authority. On top of that, there was also a decrease in the quality of goods,” announced Pule, highlighting the example of sanitizers, which she noted were ‘manufactured by anybody’.

Pule revealed that the Authority went into shops around the country to compile a price list, which they published on their website and Facebook page to allow consumers to compare how different retail stores were pricing their goods.

The CEO cautioned that those found guilty of unfairly increasing prices face a possible five-year jail term or P100, 000 fine or even both.

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