Saturday, July 2, 2022

BDC says it will not abandon its Diary project

Embattled Botswana Development Corporation has no intention of shelving its dairy farm project despite its rationalization programme. This was said by the Public Relations Manager of the corporation, Boitshwarelo Lebang in an interview with Sunday Standard.

“We are definitely continuing with the project as we feel it is a worthwhile project for the country at large and I am pleased our new Managing Director Bashi Gaetsaloe is also interested in seeing the project operating,” she said.

Regarding the timeline of the project, precisely its kickoff, Lebang said that they are still looking for suitable land with enough water to start the project. In the past she said that they had found good land but could not use it because all their efforts to drill water that they will use to water stock feed needed to run a successful dairy farm drew a blank.

Since then she said that they have always been looking for that sort of piece of land but in vain as where they find land they then fail to find enough underground water for growing and watering stock feed.

Stock feed shortages in the country is reported to be the main challenge facing dairy farmers in the country leading to the country having to import more than half of fresh milk and other dairy products on yearly products from South Africa.

BDC first came up with a plan for a diary farm in 2009 saying it was anticipating a serious milk shortage as a result of the world cup competitions that were held in South Africa in 2010. They then approached some two South Africans who were in dairy farming as partners on the project. One of the partners has since parted ways with BDC for undisclosed reasons.

Recently the Corporation board chairman, Blackie Marole confirmed that their multimillion glass project that the corporation had embarked on in a joint venture with a Chinese company, Shanghai Fengyue in Palapye, will be liquidated.

Following a parliament probe by a special committee last year, both BDC and government agreed that the project involving millions of taxpayers’ monies was ‘premised on poor due diligence, doubtful technical project partner selection, a litany of project implementation violations, and doubtful and reckless project fund disbursement’

In a statement accompanying its results, BDC point out that its investment in Fengyue Glass Manufacturing was assessed to be fully impaired due to the fact that the project failed to meet its targets, including the completion timelines, substantial budgeted cost over-runs and governance failures.

“The Board of Directors assessed and took into consideration all possible options and factors and hence decided on the liquidation of the glass project, as the appropriate course of action,” reads the statement also signed by board Chairman Blackie Marole.

The Corporation highlighted that consequently, a full provision for the Corporation`s investment value and all other funds spent on the glass project totalling P511 million, was made in the Group`s financial statements.

“The same impairments indicators were present at the end of the 2012 and 2011 financial year-ends, hence the comparative information for the year 2012 and 2011 financial year-ends restated”.

The embattled corporation has announced plans to embark on a strategic move to review its mandate. Executives indicate that the aim is to come up with a sustainable, efficient and value adding business model in line with the best practice and to ensure its relevance, competitiveness and sustainability.

The exercise will also review the portfolio and introduce more generally accepted standards for credit and risk assessment.

“The envisaged model recommended for the Corporation will be expected to yield positive results going forward and bring forward new prospects for the organisation,” reads the statement.
Meanwhile the corporation recorded a revenue growth of 16 percent from P274 million to P318 million. The Group`s assets continue to grow at a healthy rate increasing to P3 billion in the year under review.

“Through this exercise, the Corporation will review its processes, structures, capabilities, governance and risk management systems,” reads the statement signed by Bashi Gaetsaloe, the newly appointed BDC managing director.

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