President Mokgweetsi Masisi is probably rubbing his hands gleefully in anticipation of a major windfall after Diamond Trading Company Botswana(DTCB), Managing Director Sedireng Serumola promised new revenue stream that would yield up to P 4 billion in the next five years.
The extra P 4 billion that DTCB promises in the next five years is more than 20% of Botswana’s development budget for the 2022/2023.
Botswana’s proposed development budget for 2022/2023 financial year is P16.43 billion, an increase of P1.76 billion or 12 percent over the 2021/2022 budget.
The DTCB promised bonanza would not only provide a lifeline for a number of public projects that have been put on mothballs, but would also tide the country over the cash crunch which resulted from ravages of the Covid-19 financial haemorrhage.
In his welcome remarks at the gala dinner marking the 50th anniversary of DTCB, Serumola stated that they have developed a new strategy that “aims to transform DTCB into a high performing organisation. This strategy is driven by the new purpose of unlocking diamond value and adding sparkle to lives. Through this strategy we aim to achieve our ambition of pioneering a new diamond world of sorting and valuing……. Through this strategy, we will seek opportunities to increase our revenue streams and in so doing, increase shareholder value by releasing between 3 to 4 billion Pula during the 5 year strategy period.”
Serumola said their strategy will enable DTCB to extend “ our services beyond Debswana production and provide additional contract sorting services to other diamond producers.”
That the diamond is Botswana’s rock of ages was not lost on President Masisi. Speaking at the gala dinner, the president referred to the diamond as “a resource that keeps giving”. Although “ the resource that keeps giving” was a fitting expression, indications are that the president was not aware of Serumola’s ambition to turn diamond sorting into a dripping roast for the Botswana economy.
Said the president: “DTCB became a catalyst for beneficiation in Botswana by supplying a specified portion of Debswana’s production directly to the local cutting and polishing companies. DTCB then officially commenced its operations in 2008 to continue sorting and valuing Debswana’s diamond production.
To this day, DTCB cleans, sorts and values all diamonds from Debswana and employs various technologies to do so. Thereafter, it sells the diamonds to its two customers, Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) and De Beers Global Sightholder Sales. DTCB has developed and evolved to become the world’s largest and most sophisticated rough diamond sorting and valuing operation.
“ Practically, DTCB can sort up to 30 million carats per year. However, due to prevailing and unpredictable market conditions, DTCB has been sorting about 23 to 24 million carats annually. It is through the provision of these services that enables the much-needed diamond proceeds from the sales to be declared to the Government of Botswana at the end of each sales cycle.”
Masisi paid homage to DTCB for contributing “immensely to the socio – economic development of Botswana through its handling of every diamond mined by Debswana. The contribution of diamonds in Botswana is remarkable as diamonds generate over 80 percent of Botswana’s foreign exchange earnings and it is a significant amount of Government’s revenue.”