Friday, December 4, 2020

Mmolotsi wants to know how the Morupule B cookie crumbles

The much touted sale of the multi-billion Pula Morupule B power station is like any other sale of public property, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Sadique Kebonang appeared to suggest on Thursday, comparing it to the sale of a Botswana Power Corporation vehicle which needs no consultation with Parliament.

Despite the P11 Billion appropriated to the development the power station sanctioned by Parliament, Government will not consult the same in the sale of the project envisaged.

“That Parliament was not consulted I know…but it will seem every sale will need Parliament consultation and intervention including even the sale of a BPC car,” curtly parried Kebonang on Thursday, telling Members of Parliament,“I am officially informing you government is negotiating transactions that will see Morupule B sold.”

Kebonang was responding to a supplementary question from opposition Member of Parliament Wynter Mmolotsi.

Co-owned by the government of and Botswana Power Corporation, both institutions intends to sell Morupule B to the highest bidder to divest financial interests in the 600MW power station as well as procure an independent power producer.

“This will therefore be a divestment and not a mere sale or a disposal of an asset should a divestiture be found to be viable,” Kebonang earlier reassured Parliament.

The Minister added:”The aim is to negotiate with the engineering, procurement and construction contractor to take the asset as well as the associated liabilities.”

“The price of the plant will be negotiated,” according to Kebonang,referring to the sale of the facility to China National Electronic Equipment Corporation that was tasked with the development of the controversial facility that has so far failed to live to expectations as Morupule B was dogged with costs overruns, maintenance and poor delivery.

The sale of the independent power producer are being done in line with the provisions of PPADB, he added, insisting approvals are being sought from the organisation for direct appointment.

“This process will also entail a re-allocation of project risks as the operations and maintenance risks are better managed by the engineering, procurement and construction contractor,” the Minister said.

Opposition parties believe the ruling party elites have a stake in the sale of the project that was deemed to become a public enterprise entity, only to become a privately owned facility to make a huge sum of profits for the selected few.

Mmolotsi sparked the debate on Thursday wanting to know for how much Morupule B was being sold as well as where the sale was being advertised including whether Parliament has been consulted on the sale.

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The Telegraph December 2

Digital edition of The Telegraph, December 2, 2020.