Sunday, July 3, 2022

BPC to be placed under international managers

The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR), Kitso Mokaila, has said that his Ministry and the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) board are working around the clock to develop a strategy to revamp and re-direct the Corporation into a globally competitive business.

Speaking in an interview, Mokaila said BPC will go from a retailer to a wholesaler.

“We have to do some introspection in order for us to compete in today’s world. BPC has always been a retailer of power, taking power from South Africa and they are now the distributors of power and we want to sell power,” he said.

He added: “We are busy considering the re-direction of BPC in the context of the prevailing economic situation. When BPC transforms from a retailer to a wholesaler, is it in a state to negotiate.”

He said there is need to make the BPC an independent Corporation that is not depended on government financially.

“There are other independent power producers; the question is; are we in a position to compete with them. Because we will be exporting power, we need the capacity when we transform from a retailer to distributor,” he said.

Mokaila said all that could be achieved through the engagement of an international company has an experience in the “selling of power.”

Mokaila recently told Parliament that in the medium/long term the BPC Board in consultation with his Ministry has seen a need for the engagement of a reputable international firm to manage BPC on a two to three year Management Contract.

“To this end, the Board is in discussion with the Electricity Supply Board International (Pty) Ltd,” he said.

Asked what necessitated the need to engage an international company, Mokaila reiterated that the company will, among other things, capacitate the current management of BPC.

“The aim is to capacitate the current management. We want to engage reputable companies to assist us in capacity building. In our point of view, the BPC currently does not have the capacity to be a wholesaler,” he said.

The Minister also revealed that Electricity Supply Board International (Pty) Ltd is not the only company that they are into negotiations with. “We are also into negotiations with other companies,” he said.

He added: “I will sit-down with the board and map the way forward. I don’t want to see myself in a position whereby there is load shedding now and then. The BPC has to have a business model and be independent from Government.”

Mokaila also told Parliament that it has also been decided that Norton Rose should be engaged as legal advisers to address the contractual matters as well as Operation and Maintenance contract. Norton Rose and Aurecon will be engaged for 7 months, at an estimated total cost of P14.8million to strengthen BPC Project Management oversight.

“Through the engagement of both Aurecon AME Limited and Norton Rose, which is nothing but a tactical intervention, it is hoped that a firmer project oversight will result in the power plant being delivered in good time to address the current serious power supply and demand mismatch.

Furthermore, bringing on board Aurecon AME Limited will go a long way to reducing GoB’s Liquidated damages, as they will offer technical advice,” he said.

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