Archive for August 18th, 2008

source: Mmegi

The Alcohol Levy fiasco is but the first chapter in Khama’s war against the middle class, their ‘liberal’ thought and the resultant debate associated with engaging with this group,

“The President is taking it too far, man. The problem is that with so much popularity, he thinks he can just do anything,” a waiter at one of the up-market restaurants in the Gaborone Main Mall.

Soldiers do not like to retreat unless it is in the short term. And only for a long term strategic benefit. But this week, President Khama seems to have taken a step or two backwards in his mortal combat with alcohol and its associated fun.

This past Wednesday, the man at the heart of the government’s ‘public image’ drive CGIS head, Jeff Ramsay sent out a notice to all media houses stating that the President’s war march would pause for a while as government recollects its thoughts or well, ahm, consults with the corporate interest group BOCCIM.

In a short note titled “70 percent Levy Postponed” Ramsay says, “Government has decided to postpone the imposition of the 70 percent levy on alcoholic beverages”.

This, the notice says, is “a result of a request by the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) to [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
17.08.2008 4:37:35 P

The big companies on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) are this week lining themselves for a spectacular reporting period that is expected to change the look of the local board for the better.
Botswana Insurance Holding Limited (BIHL), which releases its results on Monday under a profit warning and First National Bank of Botswana are the first ones to announce their results this week.
Though BIHL is under profit warning the forecast is that it will make tremendous profits from its local operations thanks to the coming in of the Private Public Partnership programmes, which are expected to run for another 15 years.

“With FNBB, one can expect a good set of profits which are largely boosted by its retails sector,” head of Capital Asset Management, Leutwetse Tumelo, said Friday.

FNBB, which is the second largest bank on the exchange by capitalization, is also the lending bank in terms of technological adoption in [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
BAME PIET
Staff Writer

Ambassador of China to Botswana, Ding Xiaowen, is a very frustrated man. His frustration comes from the slow speed of getting a work permit in Botswana.

He said yesterday that though Chinese companies are currently working on major projects worth over P2 billion in Botswana, it still takes a long and complex procedure to get a work permit. “If you are lucky, it takes three months to get a work permit. But on the other hand, time for the projects is very limited. The taxpayer ends up paying a lot of money for delayed projects,” he said.

Xiaowen said that in addition, it is a hassle to find skilled labourer in Botswana. He said the few skilled workers available shy away from working long hours in construction sites. “Many people here don’t want to work in construction sites,” he said.

The ambassador was responding to remarks made by MPs recently that unskilled Chinese labourers are seen in every corner of the country doing work that Batswana can do. He said that all Chinese working in Botswana are skilled and they impart their skills to the locals. He said that it is regrettable that [continue reading]

source: News24
18/08/2008 11:13 – (SA)

Johannesburg – Southern African leaders are pressuring Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to accept a power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe, the local press reported on Monday.

President Thabo “Mbeki turns up the heat on Tsvangirai”, said The Times in a headline, adding: “Zim opposition given ultimatum: sign deal or let parliament decide.”

Leaders from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held a weekend summit in Johannesburg and called for the convening of the parliament after the March 29 poll, in which Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party suffered an historic defeat.

“The threat by SADC leaders to take the matter to parliament could therefore be seen as a way of exerting pressure on Tsvangirai to sign,” The Times said.

“The move could also boost Mugabe,” said Business Day, which noted that “parliament had not been sworn in largely because the presidency was [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info
18 August 2008

South African state-owned power utility Eskom is seeking statements of qualification from both national and international companies that want to invest in the country as independent base load power producers.

In 2003, the South African government decided that future power generation capacity would be divided between Eskom, which would produce 70% of the country’s electricity needs, and independent power producers generating the remaining 30%.

Further to this, Cabinet decided in 2007 that Eskom would be the sole buyer of electricity generated by independent power producers.

In a statement this week, Eskom said that its multi-site base load independent power producer programme would be developed on a build-own-operate basis, with an envisaged contract term of 25 years.

“Under this programme, Eskom’s total requirement ranges from [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
BuaNews (Tshwane)
18 August 2008
Posted to the web 18 August 2008

Bathandwa Mbola
Johannesburg

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states officially launched a Free Trade Area (FTA) for the region at the weekend, ushering in a new era of economic integration.

Launched during the 28th SADC Summit, the agreement ushers in a new era of economic integration and rapid industrialisation of the sub-region through expanded trading opportunities.

Speaking at the official launch, President Thabo Mbeki, who is also the new SADC Chairperson, told delegates from SADC member states that the FTA was a collective milestone in the region’s ongoing integration programme.

“Today we can say with pride that our collective efforts have borne fruits, and that we have successfully met the objective we set ourselves. Indeed it required hard work, dedication, resolve and an unswerving commitment to mobilise our limited resources so as to meet our objective,” President Mbeki said.

With the goal of eliminating tariffs and trade barriers among member countries, the FTA agreement is part of the SADC’s ongoing efforts to deepen long-term regional integration with the aim of [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
BRIAN BENZA
Staff Writer

The recent collapse of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks in Geneva have no immediate impact on Botswana ‘s trade position and therefore the country will not be taking any corrective or contingency measures, a senior government official has said.

Responding to questions from Business Week, the deputy permanent secretary responsible for Trade in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Kedibonye Laletsang, said in as far as the proposed tariff liberalisation would have benefited importers and consumers, the delay in concluding the negotiations represents an opportunity cost.

Botswana’s embassy officials in Geneva represented the country at the talks. If all the modalities of the Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) and Agriculture were agreed, they would be applied to cut the tariffs on the majority of products traded by member states.

“Nearly all our imports would have been affected and consumers and importers of raw materials would have benefited from lower prices as a result of [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info
18 August 2008

The JSE has unveiled a new equity derivatives trading system that has been specifically designed for the South African market, bringing with it new functionality and greater flexibility for local brokers, fund managers, market makers and other institutional investors.

“It has taken the JSE longer than anticipated to get the new system implemented,” JSE trading director Allan Thomson said in a statement this week.

“However, since this was a total replacement of the 15-year old system we inherited when the JSE bought Safex and not merely an upgrade, we had to be absolutely certain that we’d catered for the needs of the equity derivatives market, which are quite different today than they were 15 years ago.”
World leader

The new system has been specifically designed for the South African equity derivatives market which, in a number of instances, is a world leader as far as [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
BuaNews (Tshwane)
18 August 2008
Posted to the web 18 August 2008

Luyanda Makapela and Bathandwa Mbola
Johannesburg

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to finding a lasting solution to the Zimbabwe negotiations aimed at establishing a government of national unity.

Addressing reporters after the 28th Ordinary SADC Summit in Sandton on Sunday, President Thabo Mbeki, said some agreements have been made in the negotiations, but discussions were still continuing due to certain issues still outstanding.

Mr Mbeki, who is the chief mediator in facilitating talks in Zimbabwe and the Head of State who took over as Chairperson of SADC from the Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa on Saturday, said the SADC member states wanted the discussions to be concluded soon.

“As SADC, we encourage and appeal to the parties to sign any outstanding agreements and conclude the negotiations as a matter of urgency in order to [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Kgomotso Kgwagaripane
17.08.2008 4:16:57 P

President Ian Khama this week officially opened the new 260-bed state-of-the-art Mahalapye Hospital that cost P300 million.

Mahalapye District Hospital is one of the four district hospitals that have been recently completed as part of government efforts to improve people’s access to medical care as well as introduce specialist services closer to the community.

This facility, which boasts one of the finest in equipment and machinery in important areas like catering, laundry and boiler house, features new units such as Accident & Emergency, Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy, Biomedical Engineering, which have been introduced to improve the quality of health services currently offered.

President Khama explained that the new hospital will also be used to train young Batswana doctors by providing internships. He said once the Medical School is operational, specialist training in family medicine would be offered, adding that this would [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
BRIAN BENZA
Staff Writer

Botswana’s high fuel consumption rate has led to its inflation ballooning to one of highest in the region, Zimbabwe excluded, despite the country possessing other strong macroeconomic fundamentals.

A snap survey of inflation figures in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, done by the Business Week shows that by June this year, Botswana’s inflation stood at 14.5 percent higher than Zambia (12.6 percent), Angola (12.1 percent), Malawi (8.5 percent), South Africa (11.6 percent), Tanzania (9.3 percent), Mozambique (10.4 percent) and Lesotho (9.6 percent).

Renowned local economist Dr Keith Jefferis believes Botswana’s inflation rate has rocketed because of the relatively high weight fuel in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) Basket.

” We have a higher weight of fuel in our CPI – at about 7.5 percent – and Botswana has been hardest hit because of the way fuel prices have been going up in [continue reading]

source: The Southern Times
Southern Times Writer

Gaborone. — The Botswana government has negotiated with the European Union for the country’s beef to have preferential access to the European market, Vice President Mompati Merafhe, has said.

“This access is now quota and tariff free, and the prices have improved quite significantly. The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) has also improved its incentives, including increasing prices offered to farmers to encourage them to improve their stock and to sell more to the abattoir,” he said at an agricultural show last week.

Merafhe said the BMC had introduced a premium price scheme which offered producers an additional P2 (two pula) per kilogramme for all cattle eligible for export to the European Union market.

“I therefore encourage farmers to take advantage of this scheme by getting their cattle into good condition before selling to the BMC in order to obtain maximum benefit,” he said.

He also said his government would continue [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Bashi Letsididi
17.08.2008 4:38:44 P

Contrary to a statement made by the immediate past CEO of the Botswana Railways, Andrew Lunga, some two years ago, there is nothing definite on the construction of the Mmamabula-Ellisrus railway line.

In November 2006 Andrew Lunga announced through the press that that the organisation was planning to invest up to US$200 million to construct a railway line from Mmamabula to Ellisrus, South Africa and that a feasibility study was being undertaken at the time. Lunga, whose contract expired two months ago, made the statement at a time when the organisation he headed was in deep financial trouble.

After revelations in Sunday Standard that BR was facing financial ruin, there naturally arose the question of whether the project was viable at all. Subsequent enquiries made at the Ministry of Works and Transport have turned up information that does not tally with what Lunga said in 2006.
Samuel Mbaiwa, the ministry’s spokesperson says that the government has yet to commission studies on the viability of constructing a railway line between Mmamabula and Ellisrus in South Africa as well as [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
BAME PIET
Staff Writer

Government has deferred to September the decision on implementation of the promised 70 percent levy on alcohol announced by President Ian Khama at the Gabane kgotla last month, according to a press release from the government information services.

According to the government statement: “The public is hereby informed that Government has decided to postpone the imposition of the 70 percent levy on alcoholic beverages.
“This step is a result of a request by Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) to be afforded an opportunity to make proposals on the problems of alcohol abuse in Botswana.

“Government has acceded to BOCCIM’s request in view of the importance it attaches to the role of the private sector as a partner in the Botswana economy.

“BOCCIM has been granted until the end of August 2008 to submit their proposals to Government. After considering the proposals, Government will pronounce its final decision on the matter by the end of September.

Government remains resolute in [continue reading]

source: International Herald Tribune
International Herald Tribune, Reuters
Published: August 17, 2008

JOHANNESBURG: A meeting of southern African leaders ended Sunday without a power-sharing agreement being reached between Zimbabwe’s ruling party and the main opposition, an opposition spokesman said Sunday, but President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa said regional leaders would continue the negotiations.

President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change have been trying to reach a deal to end the post-election political crisis that has crippled Zimbabwe.

“There is no deal yet,” said George Sibotshiwe, a spokesman for Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change. Tsvangirai had said earlier Sunday that the negotiations were going “very well.”

Although later Sunday, the secretary general of the MDC, Tendai Biti, said that he believed a power-sharing deal with the country’s ruling party would be reached soon.

Biti told a news conference in Johannesburg after the talks had finished that the MDC was committed to the negotiations and that failure was not an option.

Leaders of the [continue reading]