Archive for July 29th, 2008

source: Mmegi
By Business Reporter

Despite the odds being stacked against monetary policy authorities, the Bank of Botswana (BoB) believes inflation numbers will drop and settle within the bank’s target by the end of next year.

BoB Governor, Lihah Mohohlo, said last Thursday when launching the Mid-Term Review of the 2008 Monetary Statement that “all things being equal”, inflation is expected to reach 3 to 6 percent, which has been eluding the bank for sometime now. The June Consumer Prime Index (CPI) data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows inflation at 14.5 percent, which has prompted the central bank to use inflation targeting to limit the amount of cash in circulation.

Already, several times this year, central banks – including BoB – have used interest rates to fight inflation although the method is becoming questionable.

BoB says it is hopeful of falling numbers owing to a number of developments regionally and [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 July, 2008

GABORONE – Parliament resumes today for the post budget meeting, which will be kick started by the swearing in of Serowe South MP Mr Tshekedi Khama.

Mr Khama of the Botswana Democratic Party won a bye-election that came as a result of his brother, Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khamas ascendancy to presidency in April.

President Khama had been Serowe South MP since his entry into politics in 1998. Meanwhile Parliament is expected to debate nine Bills and at least 41 questions, some of them carried over from last session.

The hot potato among other motions will be the Media Practitioners Bill which seeks to regulate operations of the media industry in Botswana.

Minister of Communications, Science and Technology Mrs Pelonomi Venson Moitoi has already stared the groundwork of publicising the Bill through kgotla meetings, while on the other hand the media industry which does not like certain clauses in the Bill has already started lobbying MPs to reject the Bill if it gives the minister powers to appoint disciplinary committees.

The Botswana National Youth Council Bill has apparently been [continue reading]

source: IOL
Tania Broughton
July 29 2008 at 07:43AM

ANC President Jacob Zuma says that “in reality” he is facing no criminal charges and he is only going to court next week “out of respect for the legal process”.

His stance is rooted in his insistence that the prosecution of him on corruption, fraud and money-laundering charges is unlawful – and that the 2003 decision not to charge him, as publicly announced by then public prosecutions director Bulelani Ngcuka, still stands.

This is the essence of the argument that will be put before Judge Chris Nicholson in the Pietermaritzburg High Court next Monday as Zuma attempts to get his case struck from the roll or the charges withdrawn.

Both Zuma and the state have already filed [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info
29 July 2008

While foreign arrivals to South Africa surged to a record of over nine million arrivals in 2007, the incoming tourists spent less than those who visited the country in 2006, as the global economic slowdown takes its toll on consumer spending.

A total of 9.07-million foreigners visited South Africa in 2007, representing an 8.3% increase over 2006, as the country broke its annual tourist arrivals record for the third year running – exceeding the global average of 6.6% and pushing the country from 29 to 28 in the global tourism rankings.

However, according to a Business Day article this week, revenue from foreigners dropped by some R6.5-billion, or 9.8%.

The paper reports South African Tourism CEO Moeketsi Mosola as stating that expenditure on accommodation decreased by some R800-million, as visitors chose more affordable options like bed and breakfasts, self-catering accommodation and hostels.

“Where people can travel, they spend less while travelling or opt to go on holiday for shorter periods,” he told the publication, though he was cautiously optimistic [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 July, 2008

SELEBI PHIKWE – President Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama says cabinet has taken a decision to establish youth offices in constituencies to speed up assessment of applications.

Addressing a kgotla meeting at Botshabelo over the weekend he said each youth office will now manage its own finances, rather than the current arrangement where they have to compete for funding from the Regional Youth Office.

The President said the idea is to reduce complaints about time taken in assessing grant applications and to also increase the number of projects that can be funded in a particular constituency as each office will now have its own finances.

He however warned youth to refrain from alcoholism which he said derails gains made by Botswana over the years and that they should spend their money wisely on projects which can sustain their lives.

The President said discouraging alcoholism among young persons will help develop a country which has future responsible citizens who do not waste money on alcohol.

He also said government is exploring ways of helping [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
By Lekopanye Mooketsi
Correspondent

Last April, the government implemented regulations reducing liquor trade hours, but the High Court subsequently ruled that nightclubs may continue trading in accordance with the old hours until they expire.

But just when tipplers were beginning to enjoy themselves, the government is at it again. This time, the announcement about ‘throttling throats’ was made by none other than President Ian Khama himself, Botswana’s most celebrated teetotaller, at a no less venerable place than the kgotla of a small village.

Addressing BaKwena of Metsimotlhabe near Gaborone last week, Khama disclosed that the government was going to slap a 70-percent levy on all alcoholic beverages with effect from next month, adding that if people continued to bend the elbow, he would raise the penal levy to 100 percent or by another 70 percent!

When he was Vice President, the renowned anti-alcohol crusader once indicated that if he had the power, he would outlaw [continue reading]

source: IOL
July 28 2008 at 03:06PM

By Moshoeshoe Monare

With just days before his controversial trial, ANC President Jacob Zuma said undermining the independence of the judiciary was a threat to democracy.

But he subtly cautioned that judges should not open themselves to scandalous criticism.

In an interview with Independent Newspapers, Zuma said there was no threat to the independence of the judiciary from the ANC.

“The ANC fought for an independent judiciary and it continues to do so, there can be no true democratic country that does not respect the independence of the judiciary … the comments made in the past have emanated from what was happening in the judiciary. The ANC will defend the independence of the judiciary to the end,” Zuma said.

Zuma is facing corruption charges indirectly related to the arms deal in the Pietermaritzburg High Court next week. He refused to comment on any issue pertaining to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
OLIVER MODISE
Staff Writer

Botswana will not subsidise food and fuel despite regional and international trends in that direction, according to Vice President, Mompati Merafhe.

In an interview, Merafhe dismissed suggestions that government could rescue the situation by subsidising both imported food items and fuel, arguing that the costs are not controllable.

“These are run away costs,” he said. Merafhe said that with prices increasing daily, it was very difficult to tell how far government would go if it provided subsidies for imported food items and fuel.

Merafhe acknowledged that the country faces a crisis. He refused to discuss the possibility of government providing subsidies on food and fuel as a way to cushion households that are [continue reading]

source: BBC News

Unnamed sources in Zimbabwe’s MDC opposition say historic talks with the governing Zanu-PF party are deadlocked.

A dispute has apparently arisen over a push by President Robert Mugabe’s party to have MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai appointed “third vice-president”.

The MDC sources said this was “insulting”, and reflected negatively on the talks’ facilitator, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

Talks began last week after a rare meeting between the two leaders.

The delicate negotiations following this year’s disputed elections are meant to be happening under a news blackout, but sources in the Tsvangirai camp have told the BBC that they have now [continue reading]

source: News24
28/07/2008 21:27 – (SA)

Cape Town – Government said on Monday it would move away from cheap coal – long the engine of South Africa’s economic growth – and embrace nuclear and renewable energy in a bid to combat climate change.

South Africa relies on its coal mines for 90 percent of its energy and has sought to attract electricity guzzling industries such as aluminum smelters as a key plank of its foreign investment policy.

But Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said that would now change under a newly agreed cabinet policy.

“We are saying to business and society at large that we have to move away from dirty coal as a dominant energy source,” he said. Instead, the government would promote greater use of renewable energy and nuclear fuel.

“The longer we wait the more expensive it will become,” he told a news conference.

Devastation

Africa is the continent expected to be hardest hit by global warming. According to UN climate projections, the western part of South Africa faces increasing drought and declining crop yields, while the [continue reading]