Junior Minister at Tertiary Education, Research Science and Technology Machana Shamukuni has lamented on the poor index ranking of Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) by the African Development Bank through its Electricity Regulatory Index (ERI) survey. From 34 countries BERA was ranked position 30.BERA started participating in ERI survey in 2019.
The ERI measures the level of development of the regulatory framework for the electricity sector in African countries.
Addressing a BERA Strategic Review Retreat in Kasane last week Shamukuni expressed worry that the rating was not impressive.
“Botswana’s ranking was not impressive. The ranking indicates BERA’s strategic positioning and competitiveness in energy regulation within the Africa region. Following this ranking, a representative of African Development Bank has been engaged to provide in-depth analysis on Botswana’s performance in light of this index and highlight areas that need improvement,” he said.
He revealed that the bank will also provide insight on Africa energy regulation performance particularly on strategies that Botswana can adopt as a benchmark from other African states who are doing well in that regard.
On a positive note he said although BERA has only been existence for a short period of time, the regulatory authority has made some strides in its regulatory space. Shamukuni said the strides include issuing of licenses, the latest being licenses for generation plants to three companies. He also said the Authority also inspected 140 facilities and only 59 were found to be compliant while the rest were not.
“In addition BERA has been reviewing electricity tariffs and assessing fuel prices in relation to international markets and trends,” he added.
On a different note he said Botswana subscribes to SADC and UN commitments as well as Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)’s for the energy sector.
For her part the Chief Executive Officer at BERA Rose Seretse said it is important to comply with the law and the governing frame work. She said illegal exportation of fuel, lack of quality assurance systems and lack of environmental adherence are some of the non compliance issues they have picked during inspections Seretse added that the routine and spot check inspections is what they do on regular basis and expect the industry players to cooperate with them.
“What is pleasing to note is that there has not been much resistance in complying with the requirements of BERA by our regulated entities. We are scheduled for a country visit of consultations with our key stakeholders as we cannot regulate by remote control. Regulation needs concerted efforts by all stakeholders,” she said in conclusion.
BERA’s is tasked with the responsibility to provide an efficient energy regulatory framework for electricity, gas, coal, petroleum products, solar and all forms of renewable energy in the country. It was established by the Botswana Energy Regulatory Act of 2016 and started its operations in 2017. The objective of the BERA Strategy Review Retreat was to review the Authority’s five year strategy.