18 June 2017

Botswana: Govt to Fix Francistown-Nata Road

Mathangwane — The Vice President Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi has said that the government was losing a lot of revenue as result of the bad state of Francistown-Nata road.

Addressing a kgotla meeting in Mathangwane on Thursday, Mr Masisi said A3 as a national road which had economic returns as it was used by trucks in transit to northern parts of SADC and tourists headed to destinations such as Chobe, Ngamiland and Okavango Delta. However, the Vice President highlighted that the bad state of the road had been affecting revenue that could have been made.

He noted that because of that, the government had taken a decision that even though it was not on the National Development Plan 11 , funds be availed to have it done. He pointed out that the money was going to be raised annually through the road fund levy with P150 million pula spared for it on an annual basis.

In addition, the Vice President highlighted that the road had surpassed its lifespan and needed to be done fully and very well to accommodate the high volumes of traffic, considering the fact that it was used mostly by heavy trucks. He further added thatsince a kilometre of a bitumen road costs about P6 million , a 500 kilometres road needed good funding to be properly constructed.

Furthermore, he explained that compared to other SADC, countries, Botswana's road access fees were the lowest and these were the funds which could be used for constructing and refurbishing roads.

Concerns were also raised about the Mandunyane-Mathangwane road. The Village Development Committee chairperson, Mr Azhani Molefi said they had been waiting for it as far back as 2009 and people on the road reserve had been compensated. To date, the VDC chairperson said that nothing had happened.

In his response, Mr Masisi explained that the road was among those that were shelved due to economic downturn and will be constructed through the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP). The Vice President explained that the review of the design was scheduled to be completed by the end of this month. After this, he added that the tendering process would commence and companies would be requested to show interest.

He, nonetheless, informed residents that it had become common for tenders of such magnitude to be often accompanied by complaints from those who lost out as they took such matters to the courts of law. These issues, he noted , ended up delaying projects start dates.

On other issues, the VDC appreciated the government for poverty eradication programmes, noting that many of their people had benefited. Also, they said the youth development fund benefitted 22 young people. They mentioned that youth businesses were now doing well in their area.

They, however, requested that their quota for Ipelegeng be increased from 95 to at least 110 BOPA

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