The Herald (Harare)

13 March 2014

Botswana: Govt Hikes Tariffs As Power Woes Worsen

Gaborone. — "To this end, tariffs will be adjusted by an average of 10 percent with effect 1st April 2014," Mokaila told CAJ News on yesterday.

However, to cater for low income household and small industries, Mokaila said the increase would be between 5 and 6 percent respectively.

Analysts said the increase were likely to push up inflation, which currently stands at 4, 4 percent.

This is down from six percent in January.

Meanwhile, the southern African nation's production line has been grounded to a standstill as a result of power blackouts.

Scores of retailers in the capital Gaborone's major shopping malls and most parts of the country could not open for business this week.

Desperate investors scrambled for the few generators on the private market in a bid to keep their companies running.

The country's three national cellular phone service providers, Mascom Wireless, Be Mobile and Orange Botswana, had to scour the private market in search of diesel-powered generations to keep their towers running.

The power supply deficit comes after South Africa's power utility, Eskom, last Thursday cut 35 megawatts of the 300MW it supplies to Botswana.

Eskom, itself experiencing similar problems, warned that it could cut the electricity exports completely depending on the improvement of the situation in South Africa.

Botswana Power Corporation spokesperson, Spencer Moreri, warned in an interview that the company would impose unscheduled load shedding.

"The situation may become worse before it becomes better should Eskom go ahead with its warning to switch off electricity exports to Botswana," he added.

CAJ

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