Monday, March 8, 2021

BOB warns of ‘negative impacts’ of power, water shortages

The central bank, Bank of Botswana said Monday that continued power and water shortages have reached a point where they will likely restrict Botswana’s economic growth. Statistics show that Botswana’s economic growth slowed to 4.4 percent in 2014 from 9.3 percent in 2013.

Kealeboga Masalila, Director of Monetary and Financial Stability at the central bank says the slower GDP growth is attributable to a decline in mining and non-mining sectors in 2014. Figures provided by the central bank on its 2014 annual report show that the growth in mining slowed sharply to 4.5 percent in 2014 from 23.9 percent in 2013. During the same period, the non-mining sectors registered slowing growth to 4.4 percent in 2014 from 6.8 percent in 2013.

Botswana is currently faced with an energy and water crisis that has been ongoing for the past few years. The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) said last week Thursday that the national power plant, Morupule B will need at least two or three more years before it could work at full capacity. The BPC chief, Jacob Raleru said while the corporation seeks to engage in a long term strategy that will see a redesign of the four units of the Palapye based power plant, it will in the meantime implement interim measures which are meant to minimise risk of ‘failure’ of the plant’s boilers.

The power station is made up of four units all capable of producing 150 MW individually and 600 MW collectively. However the corporation has admitted that at the moment only two units are operational and are both not producing power at full capacity. The inception of the coal-fired power station continues to falter as a result of problems associated with the boiler system adding to the country’s power crisis which has been ongoing for the past four years.

The country has also been hit by water shortage across the country with the most impact felt in the capital, Gaborone and surrounding areas where most businesses operate. Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) said Thursday that there have been no improvements in water levels in the southern part of the country during the recent rainy season. As a result, the capital Gaborone and surrounding areas depend on water supplies from the North, which is transferred through the North-South Carrier pipelines. However, by Monday, just like in the previous several months, the corporation announced an anticipated water cut for a continuous three days, caused by the bursting of the North-South Carrier pipes near Palapye.

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