SUNDAY STANDARD business editor, VICTOR BAATWENG picks a few headlines that closed the year 2017.
Kgori Capital confirms removal of Seretse as shareholder
The country’s home-grown asset management company, Kgori Capital said in late December 2017 that it started the process of removing its former managing director, Bakang Seretse from its lists of shareholders. Seretse, who resigned from the company early this week is facing charges of money laundering and will appear again in court in late January 2018.
A statement co-signed by Alphonse Ndzinge and Sharifa Noor, who are Kgori’s current joint executive managers note that the company’s shareholder’s agreement dictates that shares will only be held by those that are employed by Kgori Capital.
Moody cautions Botswana against slow structural reforms
In last 2017 economic update on Botswana, the credit rating agency, Moody stated that in the medium term, slow progress in the implementation of structural reforms and limited economic diversification in Botswana would undermine the fiscal position and put downward pressure on its credit ratings.
While those in the government enclave might be punching the air after Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) December 2017 affirmation of the country’s A2 rating for both foreign and domestic bonds and the stable outlook for the year, the agency does not see bullish future if things remain the same.
Parliament committee probe National Petroleum Fund
In late December 2017, the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Abraham Kesupile confirmed that the committee will meet in early January 2018 to examine the financials of the troubled national petroleum fund.
Kesupile told Sunday Standard in a brief interview on Friday that his committee has since started preparations for the urgent meeting. The PAC, which will be working hand in hand with the Auditor General’s office, is likely to summon amongst others Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary (PS) Kgomotso Abi as well as the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) Rose Seretse.
The PAC special meeting comes after the Special Elected Member of Parliament (MP) Mephato Reatile moved an urgent motion in December 2017 which read, “That this honourable house resolves that the Public Accounts Committee meets as a matter of urgency to review the National Petroleum Fund with the assistance of the Auditor General”.
BITRI set to produce high value minerals products
Botswana through its nanotech brainchild Botswana Institute for Research, Science and Technology and Innovation (BITRI) has established a state-of-the-art metallurgical laboratory (met lab) for material scientific research capable of transforming minerals into high value commercial products at competitive cost.
The relevance of these Projects emanate from Botswana’s extensive known coal resources of about 202 billion tones. The current coal mine, Morupule Colliery, was expanded to produce about 3 million tonnes per annum. The demand for coal-for-energy has increased significantly nationally, regionally and internationally and there is also potential to produce coal based products from Botswana coal.
In addition BITRI has a world-class state of the art Centre for Material Science (CMS) laboratory facility for materials fabrication and characterization that will serve the research needs as well as the commercial materials analysis needs of Botswana and the region across a variety of sectors.
GOV’T “VOLTE FACE “ON PROPOSED BSB, BOTSWANAPOST MERGER
Still in December the Government confirmed its change of tack on the long awaited merger of BotswanaPost and Botswana Savings Bank (BSB) as well as BotswanaPost’s subsidiary Botswana Couriers and Logistics.
The decision to merge the three government entities kick-started over 4 years back after the then Minister of Transport and Communications appointed the Board of Directors of Botswana Post and Savings Group Limited which was is the holding company for the three companies. The establishment of the holding Company was a move which was expected to pave the way for the failed merger.
In December 2013, the Botswana Postal Service Amendment Bill was passed in Parliament following approval by cabinet, two occurrences that were also marked as building blocks for the collapsed merger.