The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources is not in a position to shed light on the status of the government’s diamond agreement with De Beers.
The reason for the non-disclosure, Minister Ponatshego Kedikilwe says, is because the negotiations are ongoing so┬áit would be inappropriate to release information about negotiations between the Government of Botswana and De Beers.
The Minister told parliament that the principle of aggregation is on course and that implementation is the subject of negotiations of the Debswana Diamond sales Agreement.
“While the principle of moving aggregation to Botswana has been agreed between the Government of Botswana and De Beers, the implementation has not happened as the planning for such has not been concluded and agreed,” he said.
The Minister said the global economic recession further delayed the move as the shareholders of the company had to focus on keeping the company afloat during the difficult period.
The Minister assured parliament that his government is fully committed not only to diamond aggregation in Botswana but to the transfer of diamond trading to Gaborone as part of his answer to parliamentary questions by Tonota North Member of Parliament, Fidelis Molao, on Monday.
“Aggregation is a peripheral issue compared to diamond trading in Botswana. The aim is to turn Botswana from a mere diamond producer into a global diamond centre.┬á This is driven by the strategy to encourage linkages between the mineral industry, with the rest of the economy to expand value addition activities in the country,” he said.
Some of the government achievements spelled out by the minister include the establishment of the Diamond Hub to facilitate the implementation of the diamond downstream sector, the creation of 16 diamond creating factories employing about 3000 workers, and a P39 million Secure Transfer Facility at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport to improve security of transporting diamonds in and outside the country