Former Permanent Secretary at the Finance Ministry – Solomon Sekwakwa, who was unceremoniously removed from office by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in 2020, has found a new home at Standard Chartered Bank Botswana.
Sekwakwa, who at the time of leaving civil service was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Wellness has joined the country’s oldest baker as an Independent Non-Executive Director.
Sekwakwa is an economist by qualification with vast experience and expertise in Finance, strategy development and planning having worked mostly in senior positions for the various Government departments.
He holds a Masters of Arts Degree specialising in Development Economics, a Post Graduate Diploma in Economics from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Sociology from the University of Botswana. He has further attained training and certificates in Project Management, Financial Programming and Policy and Corporate Governance Development Programme for Directors.
The banker says he played a key role on issues pertaining to national economic policy development, supervision and coordination in the preparation of the national budget and monitoring expenditure for various Government Ministries.
Apart from the new directorship role at Stanchart, Sekwakwa has previously served as a board member for several entities such as Botswana Development Corporation, University of Botswana, Debswana Diamond Mining Company and De Beers Group of companies.
Sekwakwa joins Stanchart, when like the green colours it is associated with it continues to defy the headwinds that have dragged performance of most companies in the country. In April this year announced to shareholders that it’s consolidated fully year profit before tax for 2021 went up by 42 percent. This means its PBT went up to P77 million from P48m reported in prior year. The Botswana Stock Exchange quoted banker’s Profit after tax for the period under review went up by 21 percent.
The bank’s customer deposits are also up by 6 percent year-on-year while net fees and commission up 2 percent driven by improved business volumes. Operating income is marginally down 2 percent to P739 million.
During the financials presentation, Stanchart Chief Executive – Mpho Masupe said notable growth was recorded across products in both the Retail and Corporate businesses. The two segments are said to have expanded their value propositions through the year.
Masupe also shared that strong discipline on cost lines reaped desired results as operating expenses were held flat year-on-year. He said the credit impairments remained low due to a combination of diligent portfolio management and the improving macro-economic variables and asset quality.
Stanchart’s recent performance has been remarkable, staging a recovery after a challenging period of declining profits and in some instances, steep losses. The strong sets of financials build on 2019’s momentum after the bank tripled its pre-tax profit for the financial year ended December 2019 to P69.5 million, up from P23 million registered in 2018 when the bank was just emerging from one of its toughest time since operating in Botswana. For the period of six months ended June 2019, Stanchart’s pre-tax profit was P33 million, up by 65 percent from 2018’s full year profit, which had kickstarted the bank’s return to profitability.
Stanchart, which has been operating in the country for 122 years fell from the list of the top three most profitable banks in the country in 2017 when the banker posted a P232 million loss, with the financial performance dragged by the closure of the BCL mines – one of the bank’s top clients. The steep loss was in contrast to the P79.7 million profit made in 2016, which of course was also a sign of the bank’s declining bottom line performance – falling from the highs of P319.2 million made in 2014, before plunging to P47.4 million in 2015.