Sunday, April 18, 2021

New BDC Managing Director promises to break with the past

The new Managing Director of Botswana Development Corporation, Bashi Gaetsaloe has said the Corporation is starting from an entirely new slate.

He wants to put into the past, the bad boy image that has recently plagued the Corporation, almost bringing the once thriving blue chip on its knees.

Introducing himself to the media, Gaetsaloe said the new reforms will be underpinned by good corporate governance.

The reforms will be phased into three parts, with the ultimate objective of bringing the state owned company to world class competitiveness.

The suite of reforms will include taking a fresh look at all structures including whether or not the corporation has the right kind of skills.

Project appraisals, he said will be subjected to new rules, including making sure that the right people were the ones looking at the proposals submitted by clients.

Another of his initiatives will be to ascertain if executive managers erstwhile appointed to sit at Board meetings are the right people.

He said going forward, BDC will look at key sectors that could take Botswana’s economy to new heights.

The catchword, said Gaetsaloe will be viability.

Before going outside of Botswana’s borders, Gaetsaloe is of the view that there is a lot that BDC has to put its house in order to make it a strong company again.

A recent financial statement shows that the Corporation is no longer as strong as it used to be.
BDC has had to write off half a billion Pula that formed part of the Fengue Glass factory in Palapye.

Strengthening the balance sheet will be a priority, said Gaetsaloe.

Without naming any of the toxic projects into which BDC invested, Gaetsaloe is upfront in his admission that the Corporation has in the past put money in highly risky ventures into which there was little chance of getting returns on investments.

That, he said will be a thing of the past as risk management will be tightened.

He gave examples of dairy and ostrich farming as two areas into which BDC felt they could use their muscle to kick-start given the potential that exists in those areas.

He said a decision has not been made to approach the shareholder to inject any cash in equity.
In the meantime, international financiers had shown interests to offer BDC loans that are both friendly in their terms and generous in sizes, he said.

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