Botswana: Liquidation Process Costs Govt P1.1 Billion

Gaborone — Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security says government has paid P1.1 billion for liquidation process of BCL.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee recently, Mr Cornelius Dekop, said the figure was not only the salary of the liquidator but rather encompassed salaries for 400 employees and operating costs among other things.

He indicated that government was not entirely satisfied with the amount of time taken for the liquidation process and his ministry wanted the process to be sped up.

Mr Dekop further spoke on the rehabilitation of Morupule A and indicated that things were going according to plan.

He said testing of equipment would be done soon to establish that the 120 megawatts expected from the power plant would be realized.

He said next month Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) should be handing over a report of their findings regarding energy tariffs.

"Government subsidizing electricity tariffs cannot be sustained forever and if it remains like this, BPC will always ask to be bailed out because the cost of electricity production for them is too high and people need to start paying reasonable prices for what they consume," he said.

Explaining the mandate of BERA, Mr Dekop said the aim was to make sure that there was competition in the energy industry, saying all along Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) had been the sole company allowed to generate and sell electricity.

He said in 2007, government decided to open up the sector so that independent power producers could be allowed to partake into the industry to generate electricity.

Mr Dekop stated that BERA would bring transparency to all stakeholders in the energy sector in an effort to protect both the consumer, government and electricity generating individuals.

He said any unfairness would be reported to the authority.

He also said BERA existed to license and regulate companies seeking to generate power for both own use and commercial purposes. He said in the past, licenses to request regulation of electricity or application to license electricity was handled by the minister.

Mr Dekop, who was appointed to the ministry in April this year, said the ministry was working on strategies and policies which will help to drive ministry core mandate.

"When I came to the ministry I familiarized myself with everything but there are things that still need to be done for us to operate at full efficiency and that is what I will do," he said.

Speaking on negotiations between government and DeBeers, he said negotiations had not started in earnest.

He said he could not speak on some of the things they wish to deliberate on with DeBeers as this could impact on their negotiation stance.

Source : BOPA

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