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BY PORTIA NKANI
If wishes were horses, for the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund, Botswana would be counted amongst countries that has rehabilitation centres for victims of road accidents.
However the process and efforts to set up the first ever centre is being frustrated by frequent changes of senior personnels at the Ministry of Health and Wellness which is a critical partner in the project.
Chief Executive Officer at MVA Fund - Michael Tlhagwane continues to emphasize the need to have Botswana establishing a rehabilitation centre.
“We want to establish a rehabilitation centre as we see value in having it in Botswana. However, we are a secondary insurer; therefore Health Ministry is spearheading the project. A building in Francistown has already been identified. The challenge that delays the process is the change of leadership at the Ministry, in terms of Ministers. Every new Minister who comes in, we have to start over the discussions again and again,” Tlhagwane told the Parliamentary Committee of Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises on Thursday.
As part of his submission to the Committee, he said the Fund has since January 2019 to May 2019 received 155 fatalities, where 129 have already been compensated, 22 were foreign nationals and did not qualify for compensation.
According to the Fund’s 2017 annual report which is its latest, the Fund has for the second year running recorded a total comprehensive loss. The audited financial statements for the financial year ended 31st December 2017 show a total comprehensive loss of P126.5 million compared a total comprehensive loss of P260.6 million recorded as at 31st December 2016. The improvement above was attributable to lower claims provision and net fair value gains on available for sale investments.
Total expenses decreased from P407.4 million in 2016 to P331.1 million in 2017 on the back of a 40.5 percent decrease in claims expenses from P239.5 million in 2016 to P142.5 million in 2017. The decrease in claims expenses was as a result of extensive purification of claims data resulting in a significant reduction in Incurred But Not Reported (IBNR) claims following an actuarial assessment of the Fund’s claims liability at year end.
The Fund continues to work towards achieving the United Nations initiative of Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, with a view to reduce the number of fatalities and the number of people severely injured in road crashes each year by pursuing its strategic initiatives.
Tlhagwane has assured that, the Fund will continuously increase its focus on rehabilitating and supporting the claimants to ensure improvement of quality of their lives. He adds, “having been in service for thirty years, the Fund recognizes its broader role and impact on the society. With the growing challenges of sustainability caused by a number of factors including increasing medical expenses, increasing road accidents, depressed primary source of income coupled with unstable currency exchange rates, the Fund notes a corresponding growth in the customers’ expectations for quality service and provision of relevant products. To that end, a constant review of the status quo will enable the Fund to identify areas of improvement, particularly on the sphere of road safety and rehabilitation of claimants.”