Archive for May 28th, 2007
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)
5 May 2007
Posted to the web 28 May 2007
Government has abandoned its plans of merging the Botswana Police Service with Local Police following an announcement in that direction last year.
Minister of Local Government, Margaret Nasha, said this in response to a question by Kgosi Motalaote of Kgalagadi North at Ntlo ya Dikgosi. Kgosi wanted to know when the two forces would be merged.
“As a result my ministry is proceeding with consultations on the re-enactment of the Local Police Act with a view to improving the capacity and conditions of service of the local police,” she said.
Mmegi recently exposed the disparities between the two forces, where in some instances an officer at BPS earns double the salary of what his counterpart gets at the Local Police.
Meanwhile, the Ntlo ya Dikgosi heard that the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) and Mascom Wireless have been approached about introducing a Toll-Free emergency number for Local Police.
The minister further told the house that [continue reading]
source: Mail and Guardian (SA)
27 May 2007 11:59
SADC countries are proposing the reopening of ivory trade to countries certified as trading partners by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (Cites). But a conservation group warned this week that the region does not have its own house in order, as domestic sales of ivory continue to thrive.
Jason Bell, the Southern Africa director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw), made this statement during a media briefing highlighting the plight of African elephants ahead of the upcoming 14th conference of the parties to Cites, scheduled to take place in the Netherlands from June 3 to 15.
Bell said there were places within the SADC region where people could buy ivory openly on the street.
Botswana and Namibia have proposed that they be given unlimited rights to commercial trade in raw ivory, and that South Africa and Zimbabwe be accorded the same rights.
The two countries have also asked Cites to change the status of their elephant populations to reflect that they are not endangered, so opening the way for regulated trade in ivory.
Last year Cites suspended the sale of 60 tons of ivory stockpiles held by South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, which had been [continue reading]
source: The Botswana Gazette
While government’s intention is to help develop entrepreneurship, low cost financing can encourage financial indiscipline, says the Bank of Botswana’s annual report. If not properly managed low cost financing can crowd out the private financial sector and inhibit innovation; supported projects are usually less viable and are uncompetitive. The report pointed to the need to reduce handouts; it urged institutions that manage incentive schemes to come up with more stern systems of accounting. We cannot agree more with the BoB.
If there was proper and stern accounting of monies given as handouts to so-called entrepreneurs, taxpayers would know how much the government has so far spent for the various incentive schemes – ALDEP, ARAP, BEDU, SLOCA, Tswelelopele, the Financial Assistance Policy (FAP), National Development Bank soft loans and write offs, construction industry bailout, bailout of citizen property owners who could not service their mortgages at the BBS, SMME, NAMPAAD, CEDA, tax break for cattle farmers, and many more such schemes.
Taxpayers would know how many employment opportunities were created by these schemes; how many businesses; how many were viable; how many survived and for how long; and how they contributed – or not – to the diversification of Botswana. How many of handout recipients were genuine entrepreneurs and how many were mere chancers out to snatch a free buck; what criteria were used to determine who was -or was not -an entrepreneur.
Taxpayers would know, when one scheme was abandoned, what lessons were learnt from it before another was begun. Conventional wisdom suggests that all the above questions are unanswerable. We may get snippets of information here and there but that is as much as the public can expect.
But anecdotal stories abound of the misuse of these incentive schemes, such as early recipients of CEDA being allowed to buy luxury cars because as CEOs of companies they had to show that they were persons of some worth; of one small entrepreneur being denied a loan of P50 000 on the grounds that his area of activity was oversubscribed, while two yeas later a less qualified and experienced applicant was granted a loan of more than P1 million to start a business in the same industry. We all recall The Gazette story that confronted members of the Cabinet who were alleged to have contributed to the near-demise of the NDB by failing to pay their loans.
The country loses in many diverse ways too; how many of the recipients of these incentive schemes pay taxes? The sad reality is that these bogus businesses also drag the rest of the private sector down. Unconfirmed reports say there were 11 restaurants in Gaborone before CEDA.
That figure ballooned to more than 80 after that scheme was established. How many restaurants that were funded by CEDA still survive to day – and how many of those that started on their own steam still operate? We share the BoB’s belief that government handouts kill the economy. The Botswana Gazette
May 27 2007 at 03:23PM
By Eleanor Momberg
Demands by public-sector workers for a 12 percent salary increase and improved housing and medical aid benefits mean the government’s spending on compensation for employees will have to almost double.
The department of public service and administration says the government’s four-year multi-term offer is a 6 percent general salary increase for the first year, followed by CPIX plus 0.2 percent for the second and third years, and CPIX plus 0.5 percent for the final year.
This means that the lowest-paid public servant’s salary will increase from R35 916 a year to R38 071 this year. Adding benefits, the total package would be R71 850.
The state is also offering the [continue reading]
27 May 2007
Posted to the web 27 May 2007
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel on Saturday reiterated South Africa’s call for a transparent process to appoint the World Bank President, which did not restrict the candidate by nationality.
“Minister Manuel today re-iterated South Africa’s strong support for the G-20 position that the heads of the international financial institutions, including the World Bank, should be appointed using an open, transparent selection process with candidates not restricted by nationality,” the National Treasury said in a statement.
These remarks follow the recent decision by World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz to resign from his position, after ethical concerns were raised regarding a promotion and salary increase for Mr Wolfowitz’s female companion, a former World Bank employee.
A joint statement released on 17 May by Mr Wolfowitz and the Bank’s Executive Directors reads:
“The Executive Directors accept Mr Wolfowitz’s decision to resign as President of the World Bank Group, effective end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2007). The Board will start the nomination process for a new President immediately.”
In the same statement Mr Wolfowitz said: “I am pleased that after reviewing all the evidence the Executive Directors of the World Bank Group have accepted my assurance that I acted ethically and in good faith in what I believed were the best interests of the institution, including protecting the rights of a valued staff member.
“The poorest people of the world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa deserve the [continue reading]
27/05/2007 14:33 – (SA)
Johannesburg – Two Zimbabwean cabinet ministers recently rushed to South Africa after they had been summoned by President Thabo Mbeki to attend talks, the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport said.
Zimbabwe’s justice minister Patrick Chinamasa left Accra for South Africa while labour minister Nicholas Goche flew out of Harare.
Rapport said Mbeki had summoned them to attend secret talks outside Pretoria to prepare for Zimbabwe’s elections in March.
Rapport said Mbeki was upset because they had failed to arrive for the discussions. A telephone call, probably to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, ensured their attendance.
Mbeki was appointed by the Southern African Development Community as a mediator to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis, and has to report back on his progress next month, Rapport said.
Mbeki’s spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga said on Sunday: “If it concerns the Zimbabwean dialogue process we are not commenting on it.
“We will not engage in the media about whatever talks are happening.” news24