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Botswana falling victim to SA protectionist measures

Botswana is reportedly falling victim to protectionist measures in South Africa leading to a major decline in exports.

In its recently-released review for the third quarter of 2019, local economic think tank, Econsult attributed the weakness in exports to many factors.

Chief amongst them is newly implemented South African regulations, in which the country’s government contracts specify 100 percent local content for certain products.

“This has affected one major Botswana exporter of manufactured goods particularly badly,” stressed Econsult, which is led by renowned economist, Keith Jefferis.

While the move has impacted Botswana’s exports, it is also considered contradictory to the spirit of regional trade agreements such as the SADC Free Trade Area.

Additionally, it goes against the South African National Treasury’s own economic transformation document released in August.

The document identified regional integration through contributing towards industrial development in Africa as a major component of South Africa’s industrial policy.

For Botswana, given the significance of export-led growth to the country, its poor performance is considered a grave concern.

Other factors thought to have contributed to the unsatisfactory export levels include slower global and regional economic growth reducing export market opportunities.

Meanwhile, in more grim news, Econsult economists have also poured scorn on the country’s Ease of Doing Business environment.

Botswana’s score has remained more of less unchanged in recent years. Failure to improve has seen the nation’s ranking drop dramatically.

This year the country came 86th in the Ease of Doing Business global rankings, falling from 19 in 2005.

This lowly ranking is said to be a wake-up call to improve the Ease of Doing Business score through enhancements to the business environment.

Similarly, the country’s Global Competiveness Index (GCI), which is conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF0), has reportedly been on a decline in recent years, despite showing signs of improvements between 2012 and 2016.

The GCI covers a set of indicators such as: macroeconomic stability, financial system, ICT adoption, infrastructure, health, business dynamism, skills, product markets, and market size and innovation capability among others.

Although government has made efforts towards the improvement of doing business, such as the adoption of the Doing Business Roadmap, Jefferis and his colleagues at Econsult feel a lot needs to be done to improve the situation.

This includes speeding up of the legislative process so improvements in the business environment that require changes in the law are implemented quickly.

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Letlole La Rona suspends CEO



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



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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