12 July 2018

Botswana: Delay to Upgrade Airport Worries Leaders

Maun — A tender dispute has resulted in the delay of upgrading Maun International Airport.

This surfaced during an engagement meeting when the Ministry of Transport and Communications permanent secretary, Mr Kabelo Ebineng responded to comments from stakeholders in the aviation industry.

Some stakeholders complained that it was taking ages to upgrade the facility which was the busiest.

They said a lot needed to be done to make the facility meet customers' expectations by making it more attractive and user friendly, arguing that it should be given priority since it was budgeted for. Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana's (HATAB), Ms Thato Morule said it was a pity that there was no progress though the project was planned for in NDP 9/10.

The airport was supposed to be upgraded through phases and has so far undergone two phases which have been completed.

However, Mr Ebineng explained that there was technical delay because the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) awarded a tender to a certain company and another company appealed the decision and the authority had to re-tender.

He appreciated that the facility should have been upgraded a long time ago following a deliberate decision by the government to upgrade airport facilities around the country. He agreed that in terms of aircraft movement, Maun airport was the busiest and second after Cape Town International Airport in the southern African region hence the need to develop the facility.

Mr Ebineng expressed frustration over the issue that had delayed the project and called on stakeholders to cooperate and follow the processes in place adding that it was disturbing to learn that someone stopped the project.

Stakeholders, he said should work as a team since they were all working towards national development saying they should contact the relevant authority where there were challenges.

He said there were laid down processes that needed to be followed.

CAAB chief executive officer, Mr Geoffrey Moshabesha also appreciated that the facility needed to be developed noting that P8 million had been put aside for the project.

He said the funding was adequate to implement the project.

Concerning outsourcing of some projects such as the parking lot, Mr Moshabesha explained that they engaged a certain company to undertake the project but it was not performing up to their satisfaction and that resulted in the company being evicted.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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