British Petroleum (BP)ÔÇöthe second biggest petroleum company in the country — assured Botswana this week that it will kept its taps flowing next year amid concerns that a lot of volumes will be directed to South Africa due to the FIFA World Cup games.
Advocate Rams Ramashia, the BP’s president for Sub Sahara Africa, said Friday that they had “factored in” the possibility of high demand in the coming year.
Ramashia was on a fact finding mission in Botswana during which he met with the Trade Minister, Neo Moroka, and Minerals and Energy Minister, Ponatshego Kedikilwe.
He said BP, which is the only aviation fuel supplier in the country, stands ready to meet the high demand that will be triggered by the FIFA World Cup games.
During the FIFA World Cup, it is anticipated that some of the football fans will be staying in the neighbouring countries such as Botswana .
It is also expected that a number of people will engage the tour of the region as the SADC countries are working on a number of packages for tourists that will come in 2010 for the World Cup.
Botswana raised concern that petroleum companies might block the taps leading to neighbouring countries and focus on South Africa ÔÇöa country that will be hosting the World Cup.
“We would like to make this World Cup a Southern Africa World Cup, not only South African World Cup,” Ramashia said.
“We have a team that is working on the supply side for next year and governmentÔÇöthrough the department of energy ÔÇô has got its own team. We would like to see them working together to address this issue,” he said.
BP plays a key role in the economy of Botswana as it fuels all the Debswana Diamond mines, including Morupule Colliery Mine. Further, it fuels the BCL mine in Selebi Phikwe.
However, on the retail side, the company has a less competitive edge than its peers. Currently, it has 30 outlets sprawled across the country. The major constraint has been the profits margins that are extra-ordinarily low, driving most service station operations into collapse.
However, there is a government technical team that has been recently appointed to look into the matter but its efforts are likely to be impeded by politics at a time when the cost of living is going through the roof.
If the calculations are to be changed to the benefits of dealers in a bid to foster economic empowerment, the effects of that move will have to be footed by the citizenry.