Scores of Botswana entrepreneurs who were hoping to cash in on the Debswana promise to support citizen business during the company’s billion pula construction programme may lose out because procurement is likely to be done through De Beers, the multi national shareholder ÔÇô it emerged this week.
Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Minister, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, told parliament on Friday that “Debswana officers could not effect purchases directly from South African suppliers because it was, among other reasons, cheaper to use the De Beers depot. The benefit comes from participating in De Beers global contracts which aggregate spend from the De Beers mines (South Africa, Canada and Tanzania) Namdeb and Debswana.”
Kedikilwe stated that the total value of orders placed through De Beers Depot (RSA) for 2006 was P157.5 million and the amount paid to De Beers for providing procurement and purchasing services for 2006 was P3.5 million.
He said Debswana officers are currently building capacity given the scale of capital projects that are due to be implemented and the challenges of the mature mine operations which have recently tripled in production. “For Debswana to be independent and in charge of its procurement, it has to fully take control of its operations and develop requisite skills in both project management and operations.”