Archive for December 11th, 2007
11 December, 2007
PARLIAMENT – Some parliamentarians have questioned the logic behind governments proposal to liberalise the electricity supply sector to include independent power distributors who will depend on the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) infrastructure.
Commenting on the electricity supply amendment bill last week, the MP for Lobatse, Mr Nehemiah Modubule rejected the proposal, saying it will not enhance competition because the competitors will be forced to use (BPC) infrastructure.
Mr Modubule argued that the main reason behind the proposed liberalisation is to prepare BPC for privatisation, adding that his party is opposed to the privatisation of public enterprises, especially those that are offering essential services such as power and water.
He said the government should have created an electricity supply regulatory body before it proposed amendments to the electricity supply law.
Mr Modubule appealed to the government to ensure that electricity connections were affordable, saying they were currently far beyond the means of ordinary people.
He also complained that people who apply for [continue reading]
11 December, 2007
FRANCISTOWN – Botswana businesses have been advised to increase product lines for export to the United States under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) where local goods are allowed duty-free quota free access.
Minister of Trade and Industry Neo Moroka made the call at the official opening of Foods by Melitta, a local biscuit manufacturing company in Francistown.
This essentially means there is need for a change of mindset where Botswana companies must change their focus and outlook from mainly local dependence on government purchases to the global market.
I believe this external outlook will compel our companies to improve standards and productivity thereby making them competitive in international markets which in turn should assist in the attainment of our goals of economic diversification and growth, said Mr Moroka.
Foods by Melitta is a CEDA funded biscuit manufacturing enterprise. It is the brainchild of a Francistown business woman, Ms. Melitta Ndubano. It has a production capacity of 8 064 biscuits per day.
It supplies a number of household chain stores in [continue reading]
11 December, 2007
SELEBI PHIKWE – The decision to send children home to collect school fees is not meant to humiliate or disadvantage children in anyway says education minister Mr Jacob Nkate.
Addressing Leseding Ward residents in Selebi-Phikwe, Mr Nkate said the decision was a wake-up call to parents who refused to pay school fees without valid reasons.
He said statistics showed that many of those parents were now paying school fees for their children He told the meeting that reintroduction of school fees had not disadvantaged children from poor families, saying his ministry had exempted more than 35 000 children from paying school fees because their families could not afford.
He urged parents to alert social workers about children from poor families who might not be exempted from payment of school fees so that their families could be assessed.
He also reiterated governments commitment to education in Botswana, saying the current budget for his ministry was P1.4 billion, 29 per cent of which was used to finance the process of educating Batswana.
He said his ministry would continue to ensure that every Motswana child had access basic education. He criticised parents who still refused to pay school fees while [continue reading]
BY WANETSHA MOSINYI
FRANCISTOWN: Specially Elected Member of Parliament Botsalo Ntuane has called for legislative reform to regulate medical aid.
Speaking at the official opening of the Botswana Medical Aid Society (Bomaid) branch in Francistown last Thursday, Ntuane said there had to be a complete paradigm shift in the way medical aid schemes operate.
“Why not enact reforms such as amending the Employment Act to compel employers to provide medical insurance for all employees? The provision would be consistent with others such as pensions, severance and gratuity schemes,” he suggested.
“Not only would wholesale medical insurance create a viable private health care industry; most critically, it would mitigate [continue reading]
UN News Service (New York)
10 December 2007
Posted to the web 10 December 2007
An innovative United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) online fundraising campaign will connect farmers in rural Africa to food bloggers worldwide.
Known as “Menu for Hope,” the initiative — now in its fourth year — will be launched today on Chez Pim, one of the world’s most popular food blogs.
“It is difficult to imagine two worlds that are further apart — the high-end culinary world and rural African farmers,” said WFP Director of Public Policy Strategy, Nancy Roman. “But by coming together, the global community of foodies can make a real difference to poor people who struggle daily with hunger and survival.”
The funds raised by the online raffle will support WFP’ss work in the tiny Southern African nation of Lesotho, where the agency has been helping rural communities by purchasing [continue reading]
source: The Voice
Columns / Voice Mail
by Martha Makwates
Our government wisely wishes to diversify the economy. A carrot is dangled by underscoring job opportunities – more than 3000 jobs at a minimum wage of P600 per month – by cultivating 10,000 hectares of sugar cane and harnessing the water of the Zambesi River.
But count the cost -10,000 hectares of Kasane forest reserve replaced by sugar cane! In a country with a land surface consisting largely of Kalahari Desert, every tree is precious. Think of destroying trees in the current crisis of climate change. Not only is the intrinsic value of the trees worth more than many years of sugar crops (even if it does produce alternative fuel as well as sugar). And what picture will such a move paint in the international eco-sensitive world?
Tourism is our second greatest economic powerhouse. Tourists arriving in Kasane/Chobe will surely not be enamoured by endless vistas of sugar cane fields, when they are spending big money to see the natural wonders of well-preserved Botswana. And make no mistake; tourism represents a very [continue reading]
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
Investec has forecast a sharp rise in inflation for February 2008 when the aftermath of the recent upward adjustments in retail fuel prices will be fully felt across the economy.
“Given the pressures from imported inflation, combined with the recent increase in local fuel prices and rising concern over food prices, our inflation outlook remains troubled,” Maungo Lebanna, an analyst with the asset management company, said in a commentary to Monitor Business. The Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources recently raised the price of petrol by 25 thebe, diesel by 20 thebe and paraffin by 20 thebe, raising fears of a less festive Christmas holiday. “We therefore expect a further acceleration in headline inflation into [continue reading]