Sunday, May 9, 2021

BPC workers said to be doing work contracted to Indian company

Botswana Power Corporation workers at the ill-fated Morupule B Power Station in Palapye are said to be doing work that is supposed to be done by a contracted Indian company.

On January 1 last year, STEAG Energy Services India took over the operation and maintenance (O&M) services of the plant from the China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC), which built the plant and up to that point had been providing such services. The government replaced CNEEC because it was greatly dissatisfied with the quality of its service. STEAG was given a direct appointment which the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board rules allow. Explaining the latter at the time of this appointment, the BPC CEO, Jacob Raleru, said that the Corporation could not have embarked on a tendering process because it was dealing with a power shortage emergency.

“This is an emergency phase and we are hoping to go into a long-term contract,” Raleru was quoted in the media as saying.

STEAG did indeed go into a long-term (five years) O&M contract with BPC. On the surface everything is going swimmingly because the loadshedding is not as severe as it was during the CNEEC contract. However, sources say that credit for keeping the plant running should go to BPC and not Indian workers.

“Some of the STEAG India workers are very young ÔÇô I’d say about 19 0r 20 years, and clearly have no work experience. They can’t even change bearings but earn way more than experienced BPC workers who do the majority of the work at the plant. You can tell that these young guys have been brought over to gain experience,” says a source, adding that the nature of an O&M contract is such that not a single BPC employee should have to participate in work that STEAG is paid to do.

Sunday Standard learns that, as part of the O&M contract, BPC pays STEAG India P40 million a month. Additionally, it has to pay the salaries of own workers who are reportedly doing work that has been contracted out to the Indian company.

STEAG India is a wholly-owned subsidiary of STEAG Energy Services GmbH Germany, which is itself the engineering and nuclear technology division of STEAG GmbH, Germany’s fifth largest electricity generator. The latter is headquartered in the city of Essen, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

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