Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Vandalism of BPC property leaves Gov’t coffers bleeding

The Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Lefoko Moagi is worried that government is continuing to lose a lot of money due to vandalism of Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) property by criminals.

Officially handing-over the completed Jamataka Village Electrification Project last week in Jamataka village in the Central District, Lefoko emphasized that this vandalism is a serious drawback to government.

While he could not reveal how much money has been lost due to vandalism, he said vandalism of BPC equipment continues to be a huge impediment to electrification efforts by the Corporation.

“Government through Botswana Power Corporation engages in refinancing the reestablishment of the vandalized equipment,” he said.

He said the electrical infrastructure that government puts in place through BPC belongs to all Batswana and appealed to the public to also take responsibility by protecting and optimizing its use. The minister said criminals who engage in vandalism of this infrastructure should not be allowed to perpetuate their destructive activities without being brought to book.

On a positive note he said electrification of Jamataka village is part of government agenda to ensure that Botswana is fully electrified and that citizens gain access to electricity.

“Electrification of Jamataka village has been implemented through Government Rural Electrification Programme which was implemented through Botswana Power Corporation,” he said.

He said energy is an important ingredient in social and economic development. He also explained that the key factors for sustainable energy are availability, accessibility, safety, affordability and reliability. Lefoko also said that the provision of electricity to rural areas is accepted as one of the prime engines for; economic growth to rural communities, improved health and education facilities, improved standards of living and social activities. Out of a total of 492 villages in Botswana, the minister revealed that 446 villages have been electrified.

“Jamataka village is part of the 116 villages being electrified and this will bring the total number of villages electrified throughout the country to 447. Rural electrification will continue during the National Development (NDP) 11 to cover the remaining 45 villages as well as network extensions to cater for village growth or developments,” he added

He also revealed that it is government’s plan through BPC to increase access to electricity from the current level of 66 percent to 80 percent through NDP 11 in its quest to improve the quality of life of the general populace. He said it is important to note that government has developed a scheme called National Electricity Standard Connection (NESC0 and National Electrification Fund (NEF) to help Batswana connect electricity at a standard price P5 000.00 plus Value Added Tax irrespective of location.

On the 1st of April government introduced an electricity levy of 5 thebe per kilo watt hour consumed. The levy is payable monthly by all electricity customers to generate money for the Fund from which household connections are subsidized.

Speaking at the same event, the BPC Project Manager Seitibatso Seitebatso said on annual basis BPC together with its parent ministry undertakes assessment for both network extensions in electrified villages and new village electrifications.

“The electrification of villages is an on-going phased programme under which un-electrified villages, alongside network extensions in electrified villages are considered to cater for village growth,” he said.

Among other important issues he explained that the rate of electrification is dependent on the availability of resources and not all villages can be electrified at the same time hence the phasing of the projects.

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