Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Lekidi miracle – BFA posts positive financials

What a difference a year or three makes! Almost this time three years ago in 2016, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) was allegedly P10 million in the red.

“Back then, we were financially in intensive care unit,” BFA 2nd Vice President Marshlow Motlogelwa explains.

Fast forward three years later, and the association has reported a complete turnaround. According to the latest financial reports, for the first time in three years, the BFA now has recorded a P6.5 million.

The news of BFA’s financial turnaround was revealed to the BFA membership during a Special General Meeting convened to discuss the association financials this past weekend.

While the association is no longer on the red and has recorded a surplus, Motlogelwa however says ‘the association is not out of the woods yet.’

Despite this cautionary statement, for an association which this time in 2018 was reportedly in a P2 million deficit, the turnaround is nothing short of miraculous.

But how was it all done?  According to Motlogelwa, who is the man behind the numbers, getting the association back on the positive was no easy task.

Over the past few years, the BFA 2nd Vice President says they put in place strategies to mitigate the association’s then critical financial situation.

“Among our strategies, we put in place cost containment measures, prudent financial management systems as well as putting in place measures to pay the association debtors,” he explains.

The BFA 2nd Vice President explains that to contain costs, the association put controls on procurement. He says due to the association’s scattergun approach to procurement in the past, the association bled a lot of monies. By putting in place cost containment measures, the association was then able to save monies.

“We also had to ensure there is prudent financial management, that is accountability of the BFA finances from all given the association monies,” he says.

“What we did is we embarked on collecting outstanding debts from all those owing the association monies, some of which was unretired imprest monies. We made arrangements with those owing the association to make payment plans, which helped us recover outstanding debts owed to the association,” he says.

At the other end of the spectrum, Motlogelwa says the association also held strategic engagements with creditors to come up with payment plans, a process which kept creditors from attaching the association assets.

He says all these measures, coupled with the arrival of new sponsors on board, ensured the BFA could recover from its financial problems.

“As new sponsors came on board, it meant the BFA did not dig much into its subvention, thus saving some monies,” he says.

“As an example, in the past, the BFA would take monies from its subventions from the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to finance junior national teams. However, since FNB Botswana came on board to take care of junior national teams, it means we do not have to draw from our BNSC grant, which saves us some monies,” he says.

“Another example is the arrival of Skyways, who are taking care of the regions. This means where we used to finance regions from our BNSC grants, now we can save some monies as they are taken care of by Skyways,” he adds.

According to the latest report, major savings were also derived from reduction of legal fees. This past year, the association saved at least ‘P 1,617,112 from P 2,562,071 in 2018.’

Another positive is that as the association received more monies, it also managed to keep its expenses almost the same, meaning it could have a surplus.

While the BFA financial standing is now on the positive, Motlogelwa however states that there are still concerns that need to be addressed for the association to be debt free.

At the top of the concerns are the taxes owed to the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS), most of which are related to the Botswana Premier League (BPL).

He says in the past, the BPL was registered as an entity which was liable to pay taxes despite being a structure of the BFA. This however allegedly never happened as the BPL never paid taxes and the BFA now had to take over the debt.

“This debt accumulated over the years as it also attracted penalties and interests. Now it is standing at P5 million and we are working on it,” he explains.

Aside from tax related debts, Motlogelwa says the BPL also has other debts, and the association is hard at work to clear them. Among these are monies owed to the BNSC for the use of stadiums, which the BPL had undertaken to pay to ensure teams use stadiums for free.

Another concern is that while the association has posted positive financials for the past year, its liabilities still outweigh its assets.

He however says as the association will still receive finances from the BNSC, FIFA and CAF, it will continue to be in business and its assets are likely to endure.

Motlogelwa says as the association continues to put its house in order, it is likely to accumulate assets which will offset its liabilities.

Moving forward, the BFA 2nd Vice President says the intention is to ensure the association keeps a clean image so as to attract more sponsors.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.