PALAPYE: The Botswana Sector of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) Funeral Scheme (BOFUS) has invested P1.8 million in property as a way of diversifying investments to reduce overreliance on subscriptions.
Speaking at the BOFUS Annual General Meeting held at Majestic Hotel on Saturday, treasurer Samuel Aboneng revealed that the funeral wing has secured a lucrative investment in a prime location in Palapye. This property is currently attracting monthly rentals of around P22,000 per month, the treasurer revealed.
“However, it is what the scheme can do with the property in the long-term which is of essence.
The property has a lot of income potential for the scheme and the Union in general, ” he said.
Aboneng said with the property, BOFUS invested in a growing asset that could also be used as security in times of need.
According to the treasurer, BOFUS has also invested in liquid instruments with various financial intermediaries as part of getting the most out of the cash at its disposal.
The funeral scheme has placed part of its investments with BancABC, which have attracted interest income of P160,000 in just three months.
He said while BOFUS had done well in terms of investments, the scheme had also encountered challenges threatening its finances. One such challenge was the purchase of a 10 percent stake in UNIGEM.
“It has since been observed and even queried by external auditors that the share certificate showed only BOSETU holding 20 percent of the shares, instead of equal share between BOFUS and BOSETU.
“The implication of this arrangement is that the funeral scheme’s right to show this investment in their statement of financial position may be questionable.
“Also, the funeral scheme may not become aware of dividends paid out by UNIGEM to BOSETU,” he said.
Aboneng also noted that the funeral scheme, like any subscription-based entity, was highly dependent on numbers or numeral power on its membership base. Statistically, BOFUS has remained stagnant and even declined, with membership now at 10,932 compared to 10,989 in 2014. While terminations have been recorded, the main reason for declining numbers is the retirement of members.
“The scheme is now in a declining phase which should worry all of us as stakeholders,” Aboneng said.
“We are hoping that with the recent benefits enhancement initiatives, the scheme will go back to a growth scenario.”
BOFUS recorded subscription income of P11.89 million in the year to March 2015, compared with P11.7 million in March 2014.